3 Car Seat Safety Steps

January 3, 2017

Posted by Tara A. Fay

This January, take the opportunity to ensure that your child is in the correct car seat and that it is installed properly.

Did you know?  Car crashes are the number one killer of children 1 to 12 years old in the United States, according to the Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

At AppleTree and Gilden Woods, we value your child's safety as our number one priority and this concern is not limited to only when they are at a center.

3 Steps to Find the Right Car Seat from SaferCar.gov

Step 1 - Choose the right type of car seat considering the following:

  • How old is your child?
  • How tall is your child?
  • How much does your child weigh?

Example Timeline from SaferCar.gov

  • Rear-Facing Car Seats: recommended for birth - 12 months
  • Forward-Facing Car Seats: recommended 1 - 3 years
  • Booster Seat: recommended 3 - 7 years

Safety Tip: For his or her safety, keep your child rear-facing as long as possible.  All-in-one seats help with that as they are designed to grow with your child.

Use the SaferCar.gov Seat Finder to receive a car seat recommendation according to NHTSA's best practices by entering your child's date of birth, weight, and height.


Step 2 - Make sure that you install your car seat correctly

Every vehicle and car seat have different installation instructions.  Follow these tips for properly installing a car seat:

  • Read the car seat's instruction manual
  • Read your car's vehicle owner manual's car seat installation section
  • Ensure that with anchors or seat belts the set is secured tightly in the vehicle and not able to move side-to-side or front-to-back more than 1 inch
  • If your seat has a built-in angle indicator, ensure it is at the correct recline angle
  • When putting your child in the seat, position the harness straps appropriately, buckle the harness and ensure it is properly tightened, and check that the chest clip is at armpit level

Contact a local police or fire department to schedule a car seat installation check (many require appointments).  Locations near all of our AppleTree and Gilden Woods locations are noted below:

  • Ada Township Fire Department - 6990 E. Fulton St. Ada, MI 49301 - 616-676-2376, contact David Murray
  • Allegan County Sheriff's Office - 112 Walnut Allegan, MI 49010 - 269-673-0555, contact Ken DeVries, Don Roberts, or Martin Mendell
  • East Lansing Police Department - 409 Park Lane East Lansing, MI 48823 - 517-319-6897 x 66, contact Candace Ivey OR Michigan State University Police - 87 Red Cedar Rd. East Lansing, MI 48824 - 517-355-222, contact Steven Beard and Jamie Fadly
  • Grand Rapids - Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Safe Kids - 233 E. Fulton Grand Rapids, MI 49503 - 616-391-7233, contact Amy Horn and Jennifer Hoekstra or visit: www.helendevoschildrens.org/safekids - Car seat safety classes are offered 2 - 3 times each month from 6:30 - 8:30 pm at Spectrum Health Healthier Communities, 665 Seward Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504.  While the event is free, registration is still required - call 616.267.2626, option 4 to reserve your spot.  Call 616-391-7233 with questions about the class and visit the website for a complete schedule of classes.
  • Grandville Fire Department - 3215 Wilson Ave Grandville, MI 49418 - 616-530-6211, contact Thomas Daterna, Kevin McNutt, and James Walker
  • Holland Fire Department - 279 Kollen Park Dr. Holland, MI 49423 - 616-355-1020, contact Mark Klomparens
  • Kalamazoo Department of Human Services - 322 E. Stockbridge Kalamazoo, MI 49001 - 269-337-5034, contact Julie Urbanski and Holly Barra
  • Lowell Police Department - 111 N. Monroe Lowell, MI 49331 - 616-897-7123, contact Theresa Mundt
  • Meridian Township Police - 5151 Marsh Rd. Okemos, MI 48864 - 517-347-5060, contact Donald Lound and Kristi Lysik-Petroff
  • Oshtemo Fire Department - 7275 West Main Kalamazoo, MI 49009 - 269-375-0487, contact Scott Paddock
  • Portage Fire Department - 6101 Oakland Dr, Portage, MI 49024, 269-329-4492, contact Kevin Hawkey or Clay Hollister
  • Rockford Fire Department - 7 South Monroe Rockford, MI 49341 - 616-866-1553, contact Robert Berkstresser
  • Sparta Police Department - 260 W. Division Sparta, MI 49345 - 616-887-8716, contact Brian Wheeler
  • Standale - Walker Police Department - 4343 Remembrance Rd. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534 - 616-791-6826 for Officer Shannon VanderHeuvel or 616-791-6835 for Officer Gil Redzinski
  • Zeeland - Child Development Services of Ottawa - 100 South Pine St. Ste. 220 Zeeland, MI 49464 - 616-786-0736, contact Kristin Clark or Sherri Derr-Farrell or Zeeland Community Hospital - 8333 Felch St. Zeeland, MI 49464 - 616-784-8744, contact Christa Thelen

If you would like to find an additional car seat inspection location, you can visit the Child Car Seat Inspection Station Locator tool here.


Step 3 - Register your car seat

Registering your car seat allows you to automatically receive communication in regards to recalls related to your car seat as manufacturers are required to notify registered owners by first class mail.

To register, you will provide the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Manufacturer's Name
  • Date of Manufacture
  • Model Number (example: 808688)
  • Model Name (if known, example: Snugride, Embrace)

Find your car seat manufacturer name below and click through to register directly on their web site:

If your car seat manufacturer is not listed above, you can print a Child Restraint Registration Form on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website and submit it to the following address by mail, fax to (202) 366-1767, or e-mail childseatregister@dot.gov.

U.S. Department of Transportation

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Office of Defects Investigation

Correspondence Research Division (NVS-216)

Room W48-301

1200 New Jersey Avenue SE

Washington, DC 20590



Key recommendations for car seat safety:

  • Never buy a used car seat (at a garage sale, etc.)
  • Check that the seat has not expired due to improvements in safety regulations by reading the sticker found on the seat
  • Select a seat based on age and size, choosing an option that fits appropriately in your vehicle
  • Read the car seat manufacturer's guide as well as your vehicle's owner's manual to make sure that the seat is properly installed, utilizing a seatbelt or latch
  • Keep your child in the car seat as long as possible, as long as they meet the height and weight requirements
  • Keep your child riding in the back seat until they are 12 years old


Michigan State Laws Regarding Car Seats::

  • Children under 4 should ride in a rear seat, if available.  If all available rear seats are occupied by children under 4, then a child under 4 may ride in a car seat in the front seat.  A child in a rear-facing car seat may only ride in the front side if the airbag is turned off. (Source)
  • Children must be properly buckled in a car seat or booster until they are 8 years old or 4'9" in height.  Children must ride in a seat until they meet the age requirement or they meet the height requirement (whichever comes first). (Source)
  • Additional change for 2014: Children under 2 or weighing less than 30 pounds should be in a rear-facing seat.  Children between 2 - 4 or between 30 - 50 pounds would be in forward-facing seats. (Source)
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