Car Seats, Pool Noodles & Peek-a-boos

I recently read that 4 out of 5 car seats are installed incorrectly. I couldn’t help but wonder how this known and yet continuing?

After going through the steps to install ours…I think I now have a better understanding.

Here is how that went… 

We were gifted an infant car seat from a generous friend who’s baby recently outgrew it. We registered it online with the company, in case of any recalls or safety issues, downloaded the installation guide, searched up videos on Youtube…. all easy peasy!

Then we set out to install it and wanted to have it checked. Apparently this is no longer a routine service provided in Peel Region. The very knowledgeable woman that instructed our prenatal course in the Region said they used to be installers and inspectors, but that no longer exists. We searched up First Aid related service providers, no luck. We searched up the OPP, local police and fire and, again, no luck. The only place we came across was some sketchy ad in a department store family restroom that said, “call so-and-so and get your car seat installed properly.” Ummm…I can’t say I felt confident about that suggestion.

So we decided, with limited options, that we’ve got this. We reviewed our car manual again, the car seat manual again and had YouTube on standby. We moved the car to a level surface and were off. It seemed great until that incredible safety feature showed red. Incorrect installation!

We needed a pool noodle.

What?! Yes… seriously, a pool noodle and one that doesn’t have a hole in the middle, gets cut to length and then is tucked in at the base of the seat in the car to lift the rear facing baby seat to the correct angle. The angle where the red disappears and it is safe! Sounds easy enough.

Who knew it isn’t so easy… Trust me, it is no small feat to find said pool noodle in January in Canada. And we never did. We searched many places in person and online. Even visited a store that reported an inventory of 50 and had 0.

In the end we bought what equates to about one quarter of a pool noodle, rebranded as a car seat safety tool and paid $5.99 for it. But hey, the seat is now installed properly. I am relieved. Although we never did find a place to inspect it.

Our car seat saga has further extended to reading up about peek-a-boo car seat covers, as opposed to snow suits, to ensure child warmth without compromising safety. Again, I am left wondering how it is that stores are comfortable selling and marketing products that aren’t safe for the little ones who will use them? And to unsuspecting parents? So I say a huge thank you to a friend who tipped me off to this. We now have a peek-a-boo cover and will use blankets to keep baby warm, so as not to interfere with the harness in our, now, safely and properly installed car seat (insert high five between Matthew and I).