From helping introduce basic safety equipment like seat belts and airbags, to today's latest radar-based blind-spot and rear collision alerts, Ford Motor Company has always been at the vanguard when it comes to helping keep you and your family safer on the road, which is another big reason why we're proud to sell quality Ford products here at Heartland Ford of Heber Springs.

If you've got kids, chances are their safety is right at the front of your mind when buying a new vehicle and when you're on the highway, as it should be. Tragically, the leading cause of death for children under the age of 13 are car accidents.

In addition to buying a vehicle that's designed to act as a cocoon of protection in the event of a collision, one of the best things you can do to keep your child safe is buying and using a well-rated child safety seat and making sure your child is securely buckled into it every time you drive. While that sounds easy, as any parent who has ever had to deal with a child safety seat can tell you, it's trickier than it sounds.

Don't fret, however, because Heartland Ford of Heber Springs is here to help with five simple tips that can help you go from a car seat novice to a car seat safety pro in minutes. And if you're nervous about whether your vehicle is up to snuff when it comes to safety, stop in today at Heartland Ford of Heber Springs. We're parents too, and we can help set your mind at ease by walking you through all the safety features of the latest generation of Ford vehicles. Come see us for the safety lowdown, or shop our big selection of vehicles online right now.

1) KEEP CHILDREN FACING TO THE REAR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE: The forces generated in a car crash are almost unfathomable and can be especially damaging to kids, especially if they're front-facing. As most accidents involve frontal impacts, having your child buckled securely into a rear-facing car seat is the best way to help distribute and absorb those forces without injury to your child. Your child should ideally stay rear-facing for at least two years and hopefully longer if his or her height will allow.     

2) USE A TETHER STRAP AND ANCHOR POINT: Since 2000, all vehicles sold in the U.S. include at least three heavy-duty anchor points somewhere in the rear of the vehicle. Usually hidden under easily-removable plastic covers, these frame-mounted anchor points are used with a tether strap connected to the top of a front-facing car seat to help keep the seat from whipping violently forward in the event of a crash, which can injure a child's neck, spine or brain. At least one tether strap is included with every new car seat and can be purchased separately if you've lost yours. If you're not using a tether for your child's front-facing car seat, you should do so. 

3) SNUG UP THOSE HARNESS STRAPS: Car seats are all about limiting your child's movement in the chaotic moments following a collision, helping them to avoid injury from being violently tossed around. The first line of defense in that fight is the harness straps that go over the child's shoulders, so snug them up! How tight is tight enough? With your child buckled into the seat, pinch the strap at their shoulder. If there is enough slack to pinch between your fingers, they're not tight enough.

4) CORRECTLY LOCATE THE STRAP RETAINER CLIP: While it doesn't look vital, the small plastic clip that secures the straps in the middle of your child's chest and its placement is absolutely crucial to the function of the seat in the event of a crash. The straps should always go through the clip smoothly with no twisting or bunching, with the clip positioned in line with the child's armpits. Never place the clip near the throat, or over the abdomen.


5) PLAY THE SLOTS: In the back of every car seat, there are usually six to eight small slots that the chest straps go through. These slots allow you to adjust the fit of the car seat as your child gets taller, and making sure you're using the right slots for your child is important to ensure they're safe in the event of a collision. In a rear-facing car seat, you should use the slots that are located at or just under your child's shoulders. In a forward-facing seat, always use the slots located at or just above your child's shoulders.

By following these simple tips, you can make sure you and your little passengers make it to and from your destination without issue. Worried whether your car is doing all it can for your’s and your loved one’s safety? Then trust the name that has been working for safer highways for over a century: Ford, and Heartland Ford of Heber Springs. Stop in today and let one of our friendly sales professionals walk you through all the ways the latest generation of Ford vehicles are safer than ever or check out our big selection online right now.


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