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Why Add-On Devices Can Make Your Car Seat Less Safe

Parents, caregivers, and grandparents love to shower new babies with gifts. Everything from onesies to crib mobiles to teething toys show love for the baby and express the parents’ style and baby’s individuality. There are certainly a lot of accessories and tools for babies and young children on the market.

 

But there is one thing parents should never accessorize: the car seat. Car seats, booster seats, and ClypX, an alternative booster seat, are all tools designed to help you keep your child safe from life-threatening injuries in the event of a car accident. These child restraint systems have been tested to safely restrain babies, toddlers, and children. Most car seat and booster seat accessories have not been tested and may pose a significant safety risk.

Car Seat Accessories to Avoid

When parents shop for their new baby, they are bound to come across a variety of car seat accessories designed to increase their baby’s comfort, including head rests, harness pads, and winter covers. While a baby might look cute and cozy nestled in a car seat outfitted with these extras, they actually may pose an unnecessary danger. The problem is that while car seats, booster seats, and alternative booster seats have been crash-tested, these additional items have not and can prevent the restraint system from working properly. Here are a few common car seat accessories and the dangers they pose.

Harness Covers

When straps rub against a baby’s neck and their chubby cheeks, it can be tempting to run out and buy some harness pads for comfort. While harness covers look harmless, they can make the harness looser around the body and interfere with the placement of the chest clip. Some car seats will come with strap pads or covers—these have been tested and approved for safe use with the restraint system. Check the manual to see if the covers can safely be removed, or if they can only be used when the child is at a certain weight.

Infant Support Inserts or Headrests

Your tiny newborn, small infant, or toddler may look uncomfortable in a big car seat. But please don’t use add-on support inserts, headrests, or pillows that did not come with the restraint system. These devices adjust the harness and the chest clip placement, and this may change the distance and speed the child’s head and chest travel at in a crash. Booster seat headrests are problematic as well. Because these items haven’t been tested with your seat, it’s possible the adjustments to the harness could cause a malfunction and lead to a significant injury in an accident.

Car Seat Covers

Some designers and manufacturers make custom car seat accessories that cover the front of the seat where the baby sits. Parents may enjoy choosing a soft, colorful cover that looks great out and about and is soft against their baby’s skin. But like other add-on devices, these covers can interfere with the safety-tested functioning of the car seat and endanger the child. They add flammability to the seat and change the way the harness fits. Nothing (other than the child’s light clothing) should be placed between the child and the harness or seat.

Toys

Some parents hang toys or mirrors across the handle of an infant’s seat to occupy their baby on the go. These accessories are fun, but car seats are made for safety, not entertainment. In the event of an accident, they could come off and hit the baby with a large amount of force.

Bunting/Winter Protection

In colder areas, parents may want to install a bunting or some other weather protection device that zips over the car seat and keeps their baby warm. If the add-on goes between the back of the restraining system and the child, especially if it’s made from thick material, it can make the harness fit more loosely. Adding extra layers changes the speed and distance that the head will travel in an accident, making it less likely for car seats or car seat alternatives to keep the child safe.

Safety Testing

Before child restraining devices are placed on the market, they must be crash-tested and certified so that they meet the FVMSS 213 federal safety standard set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. Car seats, booster seats, and alternative booster seats are all designed for safety and are tested to make sure that the clips and harnesses will protect your children and keep them restrained safely. Any accessory that comes with your restraint system, or that is expressly permitted by the manufacturer, has been tested for use with your device.

 

Accessories that are not sold with the child restraint system or are not specifically approved by the child restraint system manufacturer are unregulated, and there is no way to determine how they will behave in a car crash when used with your car seat or booster seat. Even the smallest change to a harness restraint system can change the way it has been tested to perform in a crash, potentially leading to serious injury or death.

Safety Is Our Priority

ClypX, an alternative booster seat, was designed with child safety in mind. It passes industry-standard crash-tests and meets safety regulations around the world, often performing better than traditional booster seats. We believe that the safest restraint system is one that parents will actually use—one that meets industry safety standards while also fitting into your lifestyle. ClypX is portable, small, simple to use, and, most importantly, proven safe.

 

Start using ClypX for your child today.

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