Car Seat Safety with Diono

Last week I did an Instagram Live with Allana Pinkerton, the CPS advocate for Diono. We had some great questions but we were not able to get to them all so Allana put together this Q&A for you guys. I have the Instagram Live video but it is too large for me to post here so I will work on figuring out how to get that to you guys.

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Why and where is the best place to install a car seat? 

The best place to install a car seat is where ever you get a correct fit. Sometimes that can be either the center or the outboard positions. Either one is safe. Studies show there is no significant difference whether a child is close to the impacted side or away from it. The key to preventing injury, as much as possible, is to install the seat correctly and harness your child correctly every ride. 


Need advice on how to install a rear-facing car seat without lower anchors

Car seats are tested with a seat belt installation and with a UAS installation. Either way is safe if the seat moves less than one-inch side to side, front to back at the belt path. Follow the instructions for proper installation. For Diono car seats, do not install using both methods at the same time. In general most car seats state this instruction, as well. 


Why are thick, puffy coats not a good idea when strapping a child into a car seat? How do I keep them warm in the car. 

A thick coat doesn’t allow you to get the harness snug enough and will cause slack in the harness belt. The material in the coat compresses as the harness is trying to get to the body. A harness should be snug and comfortable close to the child’s body. Wrap them up in a blanket when you are carrying them to the car. Buckle up the harness and place the blanket over them, not between their body and the harness. You can turn jackets around backwards for bigger kids. Have a hat and gloves on them to keep the heat from escaping their bodies. 


What’s the best age to turn a child forward-facing?

The American Academy of Pediatrics and Safety experts agree to keep children rear-facing, as long as possible to the maximum height or weight of the car seat. The head, neck and spine are the most fragile parts of a child’s body. Keeping the shell of the car seat supporting these areas will help protect them in a crash. 


What about attaching the top tether on a rear-facing car seat? 

Diono recommends using the top tether in the rear-facing position. Yes, there are some vehicles who do not allow this, but the crash forces on a rear-facing top tether are not significant. Vehicle manufacturers want consumers to be sure they are not attaching the connector strap to any wires to the air bag sensors or pushing up against the back seat. If you decide to use the top tether, attach it to a non-moving part that is bolted to the floor of the car. 

What is proper placement of a seat belt on a child in a booster seat? 

The lap portion of the 3-point seat belt should lay low on the hips and shoulder portion should be in the center of the collar bone and touching it. This is the same for adult passengers. 


When can a child not ride in a car seat? 

It’s important to check the laws in your area, but if you are following Best Practice you will always meet the law requirements. Keep kids in a car seat, as long as possible. They are ready to come out of a belt positioning booster when they can sit like an adult in the seat belt and mature enough to ride correctly every ride. I like their feet to be flat on the floor, otherwise they will slouch and that will cause the lap portion of the seat belt to ride up on the soft abdomen. This position could cause serious injury in a crash. 


Diono car seat use for a baby? 

Diono car seats can be used for some newborns. The Radians and Rainier car seats start at 5 lbs. Keep them rear-facing to the maximum rear-facing weight or height limit, whichever comes first. Then turn them forward facing until they outgrow the car seat. 


What about mirrors? 

The CPS technician community does not support the use of mirrors because the curriculum is only based on federal regulations and these types of accessories do not have any regulations when it comes to crash testing. Having said that, most injuries seen in the emergency room are relating to crashes forces, a child striking the interior of the car, not being restrained at all or improperly restrained. If the mirror gives the parent peace of mind and they are more relaxed driving this way, it is really their call on whether to use them or not. 


Should a 6-year-old ride in a booster seat? 

If the child meets the height and weight requirements and can sit properly every ride, then a booster seat is better than just placing them in the adult seat belt. Think “good, better, best”. If you can keep them in a 5-point harness that is best. A high back booster is better. A backless booster is good. Of course, this is all relative to them meeting the weight and height requirements of the car seat and/or booster seat. 


Who are the real experts? What about car seat Facebook groups? 

The experts are really the engineers at all car seat manufacturing companies. They are highly skilled and trained and they certify that the car seats meet the regulations. They understand physics and crash dynamics. The staff (especially) the Safety Advocates at these companies work closely with the engineering team. Some of them have over 15-25 years of experience and they are also great with communicating with the consumer. The issue with the FB groups is a parent can be overwhelmed by way too much information and all the opinions who chime in. You also have no idea about the person on the other end of the keyboard and their credentials. 


The car seat we use is the Diono 3RXT and the latest one we got was in the color Oyster.

Much Love,