car seat safety

Car seat safety is extremely important. Making a mistake during car seat installation is so easy to do, but the good news is, using proper car seat safety techniques can avoid most injuries. We caught up with pediatrician and certified child passenger safety instructor Alisa Baer M.D. to explain how we can keep our little ones safe during short and long distance travels.

Here are common ways to practice proper car seat safety:

1. Make sure harness straps are tight enough.

Most parents worry about making the car seat straps too tight on their baby. Surprisingly, it's quite difficult to make the straps too tight, in fact, most parents leave the straps too loose.

Tightening the harness straps is like a two-step dance: one must pull firmly upwards on the shoulder straps to remove hip/belly slack and then pull up on the tail to tighten the straps.

2. Make sure the car seat is properly installed.

Did you know that 95% of all car seats are not used properly and are loosely installed? In a loose car seat, the child's body is more likely to hit hard structures in the car like the window, door, or the seat in front of them. To be on the safe side, be sure to use one of the two car seats installations:

Seat Belt Installations:

Seat belt installations can be tricky because many people forget to lock the seat belt when installing the car seat. When we ride around, our seat belt is loose while driving and then locks when someone slams on the brakes. A seat belt holding a car seat can not be loose while driving—and must be held tight around the car seat using at least one of the following three locking methods:

  • Seat belt locking device built INTO the child's car seat. If you'll be installing with a seat belt—like is necessary in the center of 95% of cars—splurge and get a seat with a built-in seat belt locking device to make installation much easier.
  • Seat belt locking mode built INTO the vehicle's seat belt. Since 1996, seat belts in the US have a special locking mode to hold a car seat tight. If this locking mode tilts your baby's car seat (which commonly happens on bases and rear-facing convertible seats), use one of the other locking methods to keep your baby's car seat tight.
  • Seat belt locking device added ONTO the vehicle's seat belt. A locking clip—a metal H-shaped clip—can be added onto a shoulder/lap belt to keep it tight around the car seat. Locking clips are challenging and require two people for the installation, so be sure to visit someone trained for help.

LATCH Installations:

LATCH installations use lower anchor straps (often called LATCH straps) to ensure the child is safe. Unlike seat belts, LATCH straps have a locking mechanism built right in to hold themselves tight. But you still have to pull them tight. Where and how you pull the LATCH strap can mean the difference between getting the strap tight or not.

Whether you use LATCH or a seat belt, the safest way to install your car seat is to get help. Take an hour and visit someone trained in your area to get one-on-one help with the installation of your child's car seat.

3. Don't be afraid to stay rear-facing as long as possible.

Rear-facing is the safest way to ride. Period. Astronauts ride rear-facing for blast-off and re-entry as it's is the only way the body can tolerate the G-forces involved. Rear-facing spreads the forces along the entire back, cradling the head and neck, unlike forward-facing where the head and neck are violently thrust forward.

Many parents turn toddlers forward-facing because the legs looked scrunched, but kids are more flexible than we think. Just like your toddler doesn't wake up with a sore neck after a nap in the umbrella stroller with their head on their chest, your toddler won't be uncomfortable sitting cross-legged in their rear-facing convertible seat.

4. Make sure straps are properly buckled.

Anytime baby is in the car seat (even if it is in the house or on the stroller), keep the straps fully buckled and keep the car seat either strapped into the car or locked onto a stroller.

5. Avoid wearing jackets while in car seat.

Puffy coats keep us warm by trapping a layer of air as insulation, but that extra layer can be unsafe in the car seat. While you typically can't push much of the air out when tightening the harness, the extreme forces in a crash do, leaving the baby buckled in straps that are now way too loose to protect optimally. In winter, it's best to add thinner, tighter layers under the car seat straps—and save the puffy layers for over the car seat straps.

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Pre-order Motherly’s Becoming Mama Pregnancy Box today 🎉

A curated box of the pregnancy products you'll want.

We're extending the sale, but just a few days and supplies are limited! Preorder now.

The Becoming Mama Pregnancy Box

pregnancy box

The Becoming Mama Pregnancy Box is available for ordering—but supplies are limited and the preorder window is almost over. Order now so you don't miss out. Boxes will ship in just a few weeks. We will send you updates as the ship date gets closer.


We know just how profound the journey to becoming a mother is, and we want to celebrate and honor you through every step of the way. That's why we created the Becoming Mama Pregnancy Box—and we are thrilled to share it with you first!

Curated by the founders of Motherly, our resident midwife and our fabulous team of motherhood gurus, it's a swoon-worthy box full of items you will adore.

You'll find some of our favorite products to help you on your journey to becoming a mama. We focused on three key feelings of pregnancy: preparation, wellness and celebration.

Preparation: What do you need to prepare for becoming a mama? We've been in your shoes so we handpicked products that focus on you as you prepare for this chapter.

Wellness: Self-care during your pregnancy (and beyond) is so important—mama, you deserve it. That's what helped up select the most luxurious and beautiful pieces to help you embrace your wellness.

Celebration: We are excited for you, too! Keep the celebrations going with a few of our favorite baby items.

Supplies are limited and today is the last day to order!

Motherly's Becoming Mama Pregnancy Box FAQs

What's in the box?

The Becoming Mama Pregnancy Box is an exclusive set of products designed to help you on your journey to becoming a mama. We handpicked pieces to help you prepare, stay well and celebrate your anticipation. What's in the box is a surprise, and we know you are going to love it!

Psst: But check out a few sneak peeks here!

How much does it cost?

The box costs $125—it's valued at almost $300!

When will the box ship?

The box will ship in 4 to 6 weeks. We will announce the official date when we launch the box.

How do I get it?

Preordering is available right now! But you'll have to act fast—it's only open for a few more days.


12 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


30 hilarious + eye-opening truths about the 4th trimester 😳

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We kind of know what we're getting into when we find out we're pregnant. We know we're going to have to pee a lot, we figure our hormones will have us riding a roller coaster of highs (OMG the baby kicked!) and lows (*sobbing* WHY DID YOU THROW OUT THE COOKIE DOUGH????).

We get the fact that we'll be gaining weight and we've heard about some of the trimester-specific unpleasantries (morning sickness, migraines, hemorrhoids, to name a few.) Those three trimesters of pregnancy are transformative, enlightening and eye-opening.

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