Crash Forces--WHY car seat installation is important

As a car seat technician, the first thing I talk about is Crash Forces. They are WHY we use seat belts and car seats and WHY it's so important to wear and use them correctly.

You go to an expert for advice and if they take the time to explain WHY, it becomes easier to understand--and you are more likely to follow the advice. As a car seat technician, the first thing I talk about is Crash Forces. They are WHY we use seat belts and car seats and WHY it's so important to wear and use them correctly.

If your car crashes at 30 mph, everyone and everything in the car keeps moving at 30 mph. Anything in motion weighs a LOT more than when it's still. Weight x speed = crash forces necessary to bring you to a stop and in effect, you 'become' that weight. 

At only 30 mph, a 100 pound woman becomes 3,000 pounds coming into her seat belt and a 20 pound baby becomes 600 pounds coming into his harness. A small (1/2 pound) apple 'becomes' a 15 pound bowling ball flying through the car! (Keep potential flying objects in the trunk or in a box secured to cargo anchors.)

Seat belts and harnesses willstretch in a significant crash and usually need to be replaced because webbing does not stretch back. They are designed to do this--it's called ride down--so you don't come to the final stop at the full weight and speed. Talk to your insurance adjuster about seat belts after a crash. When buying used cars, always check the history. If the seat belts seem 'funky' get them checked at a dealer. 

You usually can't tell if a car seat has been in a crash. Be very careful with used car seats and take them from people with whom you would trust your child's life. You can believe "it's never been in a crash" from someone you trust. This week I heard of a woman whose insurance company replaced her car seat because of a crash--and she sold the old one to some unsuspecting person! There is a REASON the insurance company replaced it!

Used seats also should not be too old (6-7 years) or have any recalls. ALWAYS take a used seat to a car seat clinic so technicians can help you inspect and install it. I helped a woman with a used seat and found a problem with the harness. It had been removed and put back wrong. 

Crash forces are the reason seat belts must fit over the shoulder and below the abdomen. Crash forces are the reason car seats and harness must be tight. When the belts and harnesses stretch in a crash, they allow movement but you want this as minimal as possible. 

Remember, car crashes are the #1 killer of children and it's almost always because something was not right with the car seat or how the child was in it. It's a free and simple fix--take advantage of the free car seat clinics in your community.

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