Please understand, that if anyone tries to talk to you about car seats, they are not judging you. They just want to help you understand what is the safest possible option for your child. If they say something about straps, chest clip, ect whatever, They only want to help you fix the problem. Something you may have overlooked.
I was one of those new mothers who just did what everyone else did. I had no idea what I was doing when it came to car seats. I always had a gut feeling I was not doing it right. Once my son outgrew the infant seat, around 10 months old, we went to go buy him a new car seat. We found a great deal at our local Kmart store. We paid about $45 dollars for a Cosco High Back booster seat. I had a gut feeling we should get him one that stayed rearfacing, but my husband said, "Oh he will kick the seat" So I agreed. Never in a thousand years did I realize what I was buying was not a proper seat for a 10 month old. So we bought it, and used it for a year. Yes, I prematurely turned my son forward facing at only 8 months old. But I had no one to tell me that I should keep him rearfacing. So around his second birthday, I started to do some research. (better late than never right?) Well I found out that what I had done was VERY wrong, and VERY dangerous. I could not believe what I had done, putting my son at risk everytime we got in the car. Thank god nothing ever did happen. But it could have. So when he was 25 months old, I got the money together to get him a Cosco Scenera from Target that rearfaces to 40lbs. It took some getting used to, to install it. But once I got it, we were good. Never once did he complain about being back rearfacing. He actually liked it better than forward facing. He was able to lay back and sleep better in the car, He never once kicked the seat, which is ironic because he always kicked the seat while forward facing. He would kick my seat. I guess it was uncomfortable having his legs dangle all the time. Who knows. Anyways, after 6 months in the Cosco Scenera, I was able to save up enough money for a better seat that would last him longer. I had my eye on a Radian XTSL. It took about 3 months to finally acquire enough money for it. I was not doing childcare at the time so it was difficult to come up with $200 for a seat. I was lucky though. Sunshine kids was going through their name change to Diono and I was able to score a Radian XTSL in nitro for about $224 plus free shipping. When my seat got here I could not wait to open it and play with it. And guess what I did for the first time EVER? I read the manual front to back. Several times. This seat is awesome though. It fits perfectly rearfacing in my 2003 PT Cruiser. I can brace (which means the seat can rest on the driver and passenger seat) because there are no advanced air bags. And never had one complain from Bug on being rearfacing. He is now 3 years old 34lbs 38 inches tall. And COMFORTABLY rearfacing. I am so glad that I learned and switched him back rearfacing. I don't know what I would have done if something had happened to him while forward facing due to my ignorance. He will now remain rearfacing until he reaches 45lbs, or outgrows the rearfacing height restrictions on the Radian. Then he will turn forward facing and remain in the harness until he outgrows the harness weight of 85lbs or height allowed for harnessing. Then he will remain in the booster of the seat with seatbelt until he has outgrown that. Age does not matter at this point. It is about how he fits in the seat. And if he is 7 years old and can still sit in the harness of the seat, he will.
Here are some links and stories about car seats. I highly recommend looking into car seats further. Even if you think you know alot, it is so worth it to learn more. I plan on becoming a CPST after I get my Doula Certification.
Is Rearfacing safe in a rear end collision?
Before you buy a car seat:
Car Seat Laws:
Car Seat Laws... By state
( These need to be changed only we can make change happen)
NHSTA on Car Seats
New Safety Guidelines
The Almost Deadly Sippy cup incident.
Projectiles in the car
More on Projectiles
Coats and Car seats:
Coats and Car seat's DON'T Mix
The Car Seat Lady
More on Coats and car seats
Car Seat Poncho's (No thick Jackets in car seats)
Car Seats Expire:
Britax Retired Car Seats
How to Dispose of a expired seat
Graco on Expired seats
Another option on disposal
List of most car seat brands expiration's.
Recalled/Expired Seat List:
Real Life Events:
Joel's Journey video
Rear Facing Information:
Print Outs to share with family and strangers
The Importance Of Rearfacing
Rearfacing VS Forward facing VIDEO
Simulation of 9 month old Rear vs Foward facing
LATCH & Seatbelt
LATCH & Top Teather
Seats that allow Rear teathering
More info on all of this
After Market Products:
Manufacturer's statements on AMP's.
Why BundleMe's Are Bad
Car Seat Accessories
When buying a car seat, bypass all of the car seat accessories and installation aids. If an item didn't come with the car seat, it's not safe to use it with the car seat. After-market car seat products aren't crash-tested with each car seat and could cause injury during a crash. This includes head positioners (unless it came with the car seat) and seat belt ratchets, which aren't needed if you install the car seat properly. Use of after-market products often voids the car seat warranty.
WHY YOU DON'T GATE CHECK CAR SEATS
Gate checks = Crashed seats
Infant seat information:
You can use rolled up receiving blankets and wash cloths around your infant to make sure it fits properly. Use the receiving blankets around their head and body, and a wash cloth between the crotch strap to fill the gap.
No more than 3 (In a triangle shape taped together)
Rolled up towels
I will be adding more stuff periodically. But for now, these resources should help you learn about what you should and should not do in car seats.
Back Rear Facing after 1 and a half years Forward Facing
Almost a year after turning back Rear Facing
Just turned 2 years old Forward facing
8-9 months old Forward facing.
10 months old forward facing