Photo Credit: Londen Wheeler
Parenting comes with its share of trial and error. From finding the right diaper for baby to getting your little one into a good sleep routine, becoming a parent can be a bit overwhelming. If only your bundle of joy came with an instruction manual.
The good news is your baby isn’t likely to hold your early decision-making against you. When it comes to car seat safety, however, playing the guessing game isn’t in your child’s best interests — and it can be downright dangerous.
Fortunately for North Texas parents, Texas Health hosts regular car seat safety and fitting classes at many of its hospitals to take the guesswork out of car seat installation and usage. During the free one-on-one session with a certified child passenger safety technician, parents learn how to keep baby (and siblings) safe while traveling in a vehicle. It’s a valuable lesson parents-to-be Dan and Amy Caspi say they didn’t know they needed.
The Caspis had done their research before purchasing a car seat and were planning to stop by their local police or fire station for a quick car seat check before their baby’s arrival. Then they found out about the available car seat safety appointments at Texas Health Plano.
“My wife is an ER doctor and always tells me how impressed she is with how well car seats protect babies in crashes,” Dan says. “Since a car seat is such a simple thing to check, a lot of our family and friends had also recommended that we just stop by the police or fire station to have them perform the inspection. I was planning to do that but decided to go with the Texas Health service because I liked the idea of being able to schedule an actual appointment.”
Going into the meeting, Dan admits that he thought it would be about a five-minute venture with the chance for the Caspis to ask a couple questions. Instead, it was “more like a masterclass” during which Dan says the technician at Texas Health Plano covered the following and much more:
- How to properly install the car seat and where in the back row for the best safety, with practice for both parents
- How different car designs can influence proper installation
- Why baby should always be securely buckled in the car seat, even if they aren’t in a moving vehicle
- How to properly buckle baby in the car seat, with practice for both parents
- How to install the car seat in a rideshare vehicle or airplane with seatbelts
- How to adjust the car seat as baby grows, and what clips and/or padding should be moved at various stages
- Recommendations on future car seats as baby grows based on ease of installation and use
“Our technician, Dani, also suggested we bring the seat into the postpartum room the night before we leave the hospital so we can practice with our newborn and take our time,” Dan adds.
“Dani’s expertise was apparent from her wealth of knowledge and attention to detail of so many factors that neither my wife nor I had considered, despite having done quite a bit of research in advance. She really took the time to explain and answer all our questions, knew the ins and outs of various ‘hidden’ features on our car seat model, walked us through practical scenarios, and made us feel so comfortable and confident.”
Feeling like they had the installation figured out, Dan says the couple considered canceling the car seat safety appointment. But he’s glad they didn’t.
“Dani noted that there was nothing ‘wrong’ with our installation, but that it was not optimal for a few reasons. Even just for those tidbits of knowledge, the appointment would have been worth it. After the experience, we believe it should be mandatory for all new parents. So, so helpful. We were absolutely blown away by Dani’s friendliness, intelligence, professionalism and overall care, even in the 90+ degree heat!”
To learn more or register for a Car Seat Safety Check, visit TexasHealth.org/CarSeat. Please take advantage of this opportunity before baby arrives to help ensure a safe ride home from the hospital.