This post has been sponsored by Carma Project in an effort to provide helpful safety tips for your family. All opinions are my own.
From the moment I got my positive pregnancy test, I started thinking about the health and safety of my baby. I’ve been a mom for nearly 10 years now, have five children and I can tell you that protecting the health and safety of my children is still a huge priority in my life. Once you become a mom, you never stop worrying about your kids.
In the early years of motherhood, there were things I did that I look back on now as mistakes. Things I did that could have put my child(ren) at risk, simply because I just didn’t realize I was making a mistake.
Today I’m excited to tell you about Carma Project, as vehicle safety is an important part of emergency preparedness and keeping your family safe. It’s a FREE service that can help you identify if your vehicle is affected by the Takata airbag recall, a recall that affects 19 different automotive manufacturers. 16 people have been killed as a result of these faulty airbags and yet many people are not even aware that their vehicle has them. It’s something that I had no idea about until a few weeks ago and I’m sure many of you are unaware of it as well.
I also wanted to open up, be honest with you, and share the mistakes I’ve made so you don’t make the same ones. Plus, I’ll share other common mistakes that new parents (and sometimes seasoned parents) make so you can keep your children as safe as possible.
15 Things (You Might Not Realize) That Could Be Putting Your Child at Risk
Improper Use of Car Seats
Car seats are designed to help protect your child, but if you aren’t using the car seat correctly, you could be putting your child at risk. I see car seat mistakes made all the time, so let’s talk through them.
1. Turning the Car Seat Forward-Facing Too Soon
With my first child, I was eager to turn her forward-facing. I think many first-time parents are. It seems like a milestone. I don’t remember exactly when I did this, but it was certainly before her 2nd birthday.
It wasn’t long after I turned her forward-facing that I began to learn more about extended rear-facing and why it’s recommended. After reading a lot of information and watching crash test video comparisons, I was convinced that I needed to turn my oldest, Maggie, rear-facing again. And, that’s just what I did, until she was about 4 years old.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends: Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether.
The NHTSA and the AAP recommend that children remain rear-facing until they are at least 2 years old, but both agree that there are benefits to having your child in a rear-facing car seat until they outgrow it.
2. Using the Wrong Type of Car Seat
Another common issue with car seats I see frequently are parents using the wrong type of car seat for their child. It is very important that you look at the minimum and maximum height and weight requirements for your seat and make sure it’s appropriate for your child. A child who is 24 months old is likely going to be too big for an infant car seat. Likewise, a child who is 24 months old will be too small for a booster seat.
3. Not Securing the Car Seat in the Car Correctly
It is so important that you install a car seat correctly. I have actually witnessed people who have placed a car seat into their vehicle without using a seat belt or the LATCH system to attach the car seat to the car. It’s very important that you attach the car seat to the car and that you also attach it correctly. Your car seat comes with a manual that will show you how to install the car seat correctly.
4. Putting Your Child into a Car Seat Incorrectly
Another issue I frequently see is how children are buckled into their car seats. The chest clip should be at armpit level. The straps should be straight and not twisted. If a child is rear-facing, the straps should be located at or below their shoulders. If a child is forward-facing, the straps need to come from the shoulder level or above.
5. Adding Aftermarket Accessories to a Car Seat
You should not add any aftermarket pieces to your car seat (including warm car seat covers and pads that are placed between the car seat and the child).
6. Using a Car Seat in Unapproved Places
Car seats should also only be used when traveling in a car or when used as a travel system with your stroller. You should not place infant car seats on top of shopping carts (they can topple off). You should also not use them as a place for a baby to sleep inside your home. The reason for that is because it can place your baby at an angle that can cause his or her head to fall forward and cut off their supply of oxygen.
If you have any questions at all about children and car seats, I highly recommend that you reach out to a local child passenger safety tech who can tell you if you have purchased the correct seat for your child and if the seat is installed correctly.
Children have to eat but some foods can prove hazardous to children. Below are foods that are common hazards to children.
7. Common Food Allergens
The following foods are common allergens for children.
- Milk (especially cow’s)
Of course, other foods could be an allergen to your child as well, so you should always be on the lookout for allergic reactions whenever your child tries a new food.
8. Common Food Choking Hazards
Children can choke on anything, but these foods are the ones that are most frequently choked on. At least one child dies from choking on food every five days in the U.S., and more than 12,000 children are taken to a hospital emergency room each year for food-choking injuries.
You can lessen the risk to your child by simply cutting these foods into pieces that are too small to be lodged in their throat.
- Hot dogs
- Hard candy
We all know that things like bleach and laundry detergent need to be kept out of reach of little ones. But there are other hazards in the home that you may not be aware of.
9. Unsecured Furniture
Did you know that a child is killed by a falling piece of furniture (dresser, television, appliance, etc.) in the U.S. approximately every two weeks? In 2016, 2,800 incidents of injuries to children caused by furniture tipping were reported.
10. Shower Drains
I know it might sound crazy, but my own son got his finger stuck in a shower drain. We had to unscrew the drain and take him to the ER to have it removed. It was scary for sure and now we are very cautious of shower drains or really any small hole where a finger could potentially get stuck.
11. Choking hazards
I mentioned above that food can be a choking hazard, but other items in the home can be choking hazards as well, including coins, small toys, buttons, balloons, marbles, and other small balls.
12. Open windows
Children can fall through (or climb out of) open windows. When I want to let fresh air into our home, I open our windows from the top rather than the bottom to prevent a child from falling through the window.
13. Window blinds
Speaking of windows, older window blinds have strangled children. Make sure the blinds in your home do not have long cords that a child could get tangled in.
14. Carbon monoxide
Just last week a friend of mine shared a story of how her home recently had a very high level of carbon monoxide and they were unaware of it. Luckily their security system was watching and alerted them. If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, you should definitely purchase one. Her story was a wake-up call to me that we NEEDED to order our own carbon monoxide monitors right away.
Recalls You Aren’t Aware Of
Up to 400 products are recalled every year in the US but many of them probably go unnoticed by you. I understand; our lives our just busy and its not something I think about every day to check for recalls that might affect my family. It’s likely the same situation in your family.
15. Vehicle Recalls
One of the scariest types of recalls are those that occur with our vehicles. Millions of people are currently at risk of injury or death from active safety recalls on their vehicles, but are completely unaware that their vehicle is even affected. It wasn’t that long ago that we took our minivan into the dealership for an oil change only to be told that our Odyssey had an active recall that needed to be fixed. (Thankfully they fixed it for us that same day.)
Currently, the largest active safety recall in the automotive industry is the Takata airbag recall. Millions of vehicles with Takata airbags are still under recall and have not been fixed, potentially putting you and your family at risk. These airbags are recalled because the inflator can explode when deployed, sending sharp metal fragments towards the driver and passengers that can cause serious injury or even death. This is a very important recall that should not be ignored!
How to Check if Your Vehicle Has a Recall
Luckily, there is an easy way to find out if your vehicle is affected by the Takata airbag recall: Carma Project!
With Carma Project, you simply enter your VIN or license plate number on the Carma Project recall check tool, and it will instantly check your vehicle, for FREE. You can even just take a photo of your license plate and upload it with your phone. It couldn’t be easier!
If your vehicle is, in fact, one of the ones affected by this recall (there are 19 different auto manufacturers affected) you’ll then want to contact a local dealer in your area to have your vehicle repaired ASAP.
This is NOT the kind of recall you want to ignore. So far hundreds of people have been critically injured and 16 people have been killed.
You can also provide the Carma Project with your email address so that they can alert you in the future if an active recall is issued for the vehicle you checked. Checking your vehicle has never been easier thanks to Carma Project!