When should the car seat be installed? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 04-17-2009, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Okay... I know it's a bit early since we're only 29 weeks, but just wondering when we should have it ready to go? If I had to guess I would say 37 weeks.

I noticed my hospital is offering a car safety seminar where they inspect your car seat and talk about other safety concerns, but you have to have the car seat installed first (so there's the issue of coordinating class dates with having the seat installed). But is having someone inspect the seat really an issue? My husband is pretty adept at things like that, but having someone inspect the installation isn't a bad idea either. Doesn't the hospital inspect your car seat before you drive away with your new baby, anyway?

What are you thoughts?

Thanks!
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#2 of 24 Old 04-17-2009, 09:42 AM
 
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Hmm, I'm not sure when the right time is. I would say 36, 37 weeks, like you said. We never had our car seat installation installed (nothing like that was available here), but we read a lot about common mistakes and heard a lot from my bil. It's not a bad idea to get it inspected if you have time. Apparently 80% of us are using them wrong, but I'm sure most of us think we're using them right. Some of the problems that arise are when actually putting your baby into the seat (e.g., not pulling the chest clip up to the baby's chest).

In any case, my hospital did not check our car seat installation before letting us leave. They made us carry our baby out in the car seat, but whether or not he was clicked into the base correctly did not concern them.

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#3 of 24 Old 04-17-2009, 10:01 AM
 
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I think legally, the hospital staff cannot check to be sure that you have installed correctly, since they are not trained in that capacity. They are only concerned with being sure that you have a carseat.

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#4 of 24 Old 04-17-2009, 11:28 AM
 
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We installed it at the hospital each time.

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#5 of 24 Old 04-17-2009, 11:54 AM
 
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I'll probably install it around 36 weeks (which is when I did it last time). I want DD to get used to having it there. I'm the car seat installer in the family, so it would be a total disaster if I had to install it as I was leaving the hospital (or when I was in labor on the way to to hospital). (For those who have never installed a car seat, you generally have to climb on top of the car seat to get the straps tight enough.)

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#6 of 24 Old 04-17-2009, 12:00 PM
 
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I always put it in right before the third trimester. Since I do the installation, I don't want to be bigger than my van when I'm installing it.

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#7 of 24 Old 04-17-2009, 12:27 PM
 
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If you have a car that's later than a 2002 model and a new carseat, then you will have the latch system in place for very easy installation. It is much easier than the instructions make it sound!! You will be surprised at how simple it really is once you become familiar with it. What my husband did with our first baby (I was on bedrest) is practice putting the base in and out, adjusting the straps and playing around with all the buttons and levers a month or so before the baby came. That way when it was time, all it took was - literally a minute - to install the base and pop in the seat. We used an infant seat until my son was about a year old because everything we read said they are safer than using a convertible right from the start...don't know if that is true or not, but we went with it anyways.

I believe all firehouses will check out your installation at any time. Just drive over there when you put it in and see if they will check it. Or give them a call and ask - I know our local firehouse has "walk-in" time every weekend specifically for carseat checks.

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#8 of 24 Old 04-17-2009, 12:33 PM
 
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Last time, I had it installed around 37 weeks.. but then when I was in labor it was uninstalled because I took up the back seat to get to the FSBC! This time, we won't install it until we have the baby.. which will be at home. I suppose we can keep it in the trunk until then.

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#9 of 24 Old 04-17-2009, 12:37 PM
 
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Even with latch, it requires quite a bit of monkeying and strength to get a good install.

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#10 of 24 Old 04-17-2009, 12:58 PM
 
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I do home births so it takes out the hospital issue (with DS we didn't install the car seat until he was a week old and we decided to run an errand).

However, I would recommend having your car seat checked by a certified car seat tech before the baby is born. Even if you meticulously follow instructions, you can still install the car seat incorrectly and put the baby at risk. I don't remember the statistic, but most car seats are installed incorrectly. When I had DS's checked when he was a few months old, sure enough, we had it in wrong and DH was so sure he had it exactly right.

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#11 of 24 Old 04-17-2009, 01:12 PM
 
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We will probably install ours around 36 weeks unless we find that I am going into labor earlier than that.

We have to rearrange the carseats in Dh's car so that the infant seat will be behind the passenger seat and move Ds's seat behind the driver seat. There just isn't enough room to have a rear facing seat behind the driver's seat.

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#12 of 24 Old 04-17-2009, 04:57 PM
 
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We usually install around 37 weeks, but this time, it will be installed in mid-May (so around 31 weeks).

My dh is leaving for a 6 week training, and may or may not be back by the time the baby arrives. I'd rather have his help to install the car seat (and rearrange the other seats in the van!) than have to do it right before or right after giving birth!
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#13 of 24 Old 04-17-2009, 07:35 PM
 
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I would try installing it now, before you get too huge to do so, with your dh. Then take it out. Install it again and go get it checked. They will actually unistall it there and have you reinstall so you know how to do it and how to check to make sure it's done properly. At that point you can leave it in, or take it out and reinstall closer to your EDD. Though it's not hard if you're using a bucket to install the base and just leave it in, IMO.

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#14 of 24 Old 04-17-2009, 09:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracymom1 View Post
If you have a car that's later than a 2002 model and a new carseat, then you will have the latch system in place for very easy installation. It is much easier than the instructions make it sound!! You will be surprised at how simple it really is once you become familiar with it.
Just wanted to add that many, if not most, cars do not have LATCH in the center position. Check both your vehicle manual and your car seat manual to see if you are able to use LATCH in the center. Worst case, post here or on car-seat.org and someone can look it up. There's a big book of LATCH info that techs have, and it includes almost all car models. I love my LATCH book!

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Originally Posted by tracymom1 View Post
I believe all firehouses will check out your installation at any time. Just drive over there when you put it in and see if they will check it. Or give them a call and ask - I know our local firehouse has "walk-in" time every weekend specifically for carseat checks.
Make sure that you ONLY see a certified CPST -- not all firefighters are certified techs. Unfortunately, they'll sometimes install your seat even if they are not certified, and botch it up pretty badly (I've heard stories where a firefighter installed the seat with both the seatbelt and LATCH...) Here's a link where you can find a local tech. Plus, a good tech will show YOU how to install the seat. We are not supposed to install the seat for the parents -- we're supposed to educate them on how to install it.

Cristina
CPST and mom to Toby 6/06 and Caleb 8/09
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#15 of 24 Old 04-17-2009, 10:23 PM
 
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My DH will just take care of it after I have the baby. I'm doing a hospital birth, so I'll be there for a couple of days. He's really good with the carseat installations, so I trust him.
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#16 of 24 Old 04-18-2009, 06:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracymom1 View Post
I believe all firehouses will check out your installation at any time. Just drive over there when you put it in and see if they will check it. Or give them a call and ask - I know our local firehouse has "walk-in" time every weekend specifically for carseat checks.
The techncians specialized in this aren't necessarily your local firemen, sometimes it's local police and thus at the police department.

Be, happy momma to Liberty (12-31-02), Henry (3-17-07) and Prudence (7-02-09)
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#17 of 24 Old 04-18-2009, 10:40 AM
 
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Our homebirth midwife required that we install it by 36 weeks, which was the earliest I was allowed to have the baby at home. That was in case of a transfer to the hospital after the birth. We will probably do the same thing this time, especially because it means shuffling the other kids' car seats, and I always like to make those kinds of transitions a joyful event, before the baby is there to take the blame

Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
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#18 of 24 Old 04-18-2009, 05:52 PM
 
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I installed seats at about 36-37 weeks with my girls. This time I'll probably install it about the same time. When I installed DD2's seat I put a baby doll in the seat do DD1 would get used to having a baby in it. We'll do that again, or else DD2 will want to ride in the baby's seat.

It's ALWAYS a good idea to get your install checked by a certified technician. 97% of parents think they are using their seats correctly, but only 20% (and IME it's been 0%) of parents actually are using it properly.

CPST & mom

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#19 of 24 Old 04-18-2009, 06:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ATruck View Post
I think legally, the hospital staff cannot check to be sure that you have installed correctly, since they are not trained in that capacity. They are only concerned with being sure that you have a carseat.
I actually have a friend that works in OB at our local hospital. She and another coworker recently took an all-day course to become certified in checking car seat installation.
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#20 of 24 Old 04-18-2009, 07:34 PM
 
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I actually have a friend that works in OB at our local hospital. She and another coworker recently took an all-day course to become certified in checking car seat installation.
The official certification course to become a CPST is 4 days.

Cristina
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#21 of 24 Old 04-18-2009, 08:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by an_aurora View Post
It's ALWAYS a good idea to get your install checked by a certified technician. 97% of parents think they are using their seats correctly, but only 20% (and IME it's been 0%) of parents actually are using it properly.
You should check my seats so I can throw off your stats. I had perfect installs both times I had a CPST check. But of course I'm a CPST wanna be.

Regardless of that, I'm going to get the baby's seat checked (whatever we end up getting). It'll definitely be a seat I haven't installed before or one I've never had to install at 45 degrees. And IMO, you can never be too cautious in making sure the seat is installed correctly. After all, your child's life could depend on it.

Happily married to my dh, mama to ds1 (01/2005), ds2 (07/2007)  and dd (07/2009).
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#22 of 24 Old 04-20-2009, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions. I think we'll put the seat in about 36 - 37 weeks and take it to the fire department for inspection. The class cost $38 to have the seat inspected; I'd rather it were free.
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#23 of 24 Old 04-20-2009, 02:22 PM
 
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one thing you might want to keep in mind is that if you have the seat in "just because", and you get in an accident, you will need to replace it. Even a fender bender. But certainly make sure it is put in correctly and have a trained person be sure of it

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#24 of 24 Old 04-20-2009, 03:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ck1 View Post
Thanks for the suggestions. I think we'll put the seat in about 36 - 37 weeks and take it to the fire department for inspection. The class cost $38 to have the seat inspected; I'd rather it were free.
Check here to make sure someone at your local fire dept is actually a certified tech. Otherwise, don't go to them -- find someone who is on that list.

Cristina
CPST and mom to Toby 6/06 and Caleb 8/09
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