I got a chance to join a twitter party with Ali Landry, Britax, and hundreds of other mommies and daddies regarding car seat safety, and I would like to pass it along to all of you!
Keep kids rear facing until TWO. Yes, I know it sucks, but it is for their safety. Their neck muscles are not strong enough for an impact. Hopefully you will never be in a car accident, but you just don't know. I thought I would have never been in one, but I was. I was 25 weeks pregnant when I was in a car accident. If I had the girls and they were forward facing before two, they probably would have been severly injured. Something I don't want to think about. We kept the girls rear facing til 2. I know it stinks not being abe to see them or give them things but it is for their safety!
Latch system limits. If you vehicle has the latch system use it. Do not use this system and the seat belt together. One thing I learned is vehicles have a latch limit, that you have to stop using the latch system once your child hits 40lbs. The latch system is will not protect your child if you continue to use it after they hit 40lbs. You NEED to switch to the seatbelt when this happens!
Installation- Take it to the fire/police department and have them check it.
Place children in the middle of the back row. I have twins so I was not able to do this, they are each next to a window. The safest place for a child is in the middle though.
Winter- do NOT put a heavy coats on them in the car seat. Yes, its cold but that coat will not save their life in a car accident. Those straps are loosened for the coat, not the child. When the girls were little, I would just wrap them in a blanket to get in and out of somewhere. Now that they are older I put them both in their seats, and take their coats off before I buckle. Then when I unbuckle I put their coats back on. Yes its a pain, but its my childrens safety, it takes 2-5 minutes out of your time, so what, you can spare 2-5 minutes!
Register you seats!
Read your manual, and don't let the car seat move more than an inch
Checking harness- harness is tight enough when you can't pinch the webbing or staps at the collarbone. Clip should be at armpit level.
There is a ton of info on the government websites also. Please keep your children safe!