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Car Seat Safety + Checks

Cara Cacy, IBCLC, Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, offers FREE car seat checks during her regular prenatal visits. These checks are recommended to be performed before you give birth to your newborn(s).

Car Seat Tips for Expectant Parents

  • Children should ride in an appropriate rear-facing safety seat until the maximum weight limit of the safety seat is reached - this can be up to 40 pounds depending on the brand/manufacturer.
  • Myrtue Medical Center offers FREE car seat checks. It is recommended to have this done before you give birth to your newborn.
  • ALWAYS read both the car seat and vehicle manual for proper installation.
  • Online resources:

If you have any questions about your car seat or if you would like to schedule a FREE car seat check, contact Cara Cacy, IBCLC, at 712.755.4482 or ccacy@myrtuemedical.org

Send in the registration card, so you will be notified in case of a recall:

  • Fill out the manufacturer’s registration form attached to the child safety seat and send it directly to the manufacturer.
  • If you move, call the phone number or go to the manufacturer’s website to re-register your seat.
  • You can also register your car seat at NHTSA's website here.

Second-Hand Car seats are not recommended:

  • Car seats should not be reused if they have been in a crash.
  • Car seats have expiration dates.
  • Safe Kids USA advises not to use a seat more than six years past the manufacturer’s date if there is no expiration date.

Aftermarket products added to the seat are not recommended:

  • If it did not come with the seat, it was not crash-tested with the seat.
  • Extra positioners may interfere with the harness system.
  • Aftermarket products include toys, mirrors, etc. that may come loose in a crash and hit your child.

The angle of a rear-facing seat in the vehicle is very important:

  • If the seat is too upright, the baby’s head can tilt forward, cutting off the airway. If it is too flat, the harness may not hold the baby in properly.
  • Most seats have an indicator to let you know if it is correct.
  • Keep all packaging of the car seat in case of incompatibility with the vehicle. All vehicles have different shaped seats which may not work with your chosen car seat.

For installation, Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on both the seat and the vehicle:

  • Watch the weight limits on the seats and do not exceed these. Remember to watch lower limits also.
  • Rear-facing seat harness slot positions should be at the shoulders or below. Do not move to the next position until your baby’s shoulders are even with the next slot.
  • Be careful that the front vehicle seats do not touch the car seat behind them.
  • Always install car seats in the rear seat and never position a rear-facing seat in front of an airbag.
  • Keep the child rear-facing for as long as the weight limits allow. Iowa law requires a minimum of 12 months and 20 pounds.
  • The best practice is to keep children rear-facing longer if weight limits on your seat allow that to be possible.
  • Read your car’s manual to see if you can use LATCH installation.
  • You should install with either LATCH or seat belts, but not both.
  • If you are installing with seat belts, be sure to read the car’s manual so you know if you need to pull the belt out all the way to activate the retractor. I
  • installation should be tight enough that you can move the seat less than one inch.

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