Buckle up! It’s time to talk about car seat safety. Are you making the right car seat choices for your child? Let’s take a look at the latest recommendations for keeping your child safe in the car.
The type of car seat you will need depends on the age of your child. Of course, there is one thing you must do no matter which car seat you have, and that is to make sure it is securely fastened in your car. Some car seats attach to clips inside the seats of the car, which can be tricky to find. Test the car seats security in your car before you place your child inside! In our parenting classes, we go over how to install a car seat securely and correctly. It’s the easiest way to learn!
As far as which car seat your child needs, types vary depending on their age and weight. Always read the specifications on your car seat to make sure it is the right size for your child.
Infants are recommended to use rear-facing car seats. These have the most protection, as they cradle the infant in the event of a crash, and have a harness that keeps them locked in tight. This type of car seat is designed to move with the child rather than stay rigid so that they experience as little damage as possible to their fragile spines.
This type of seat is usually recommended for infants up to 1 year old, or when they reach the weight limits and grow out of it. When that time comes, they can switch to a convertible car seat. Some parents choose to go with a convertible right from the start. It starts out rear-facing when they are infants, and then converts to forward-facing when your child is big enough.
Toddlers between the ages of 2-4, or up to 65 pounds, can be in a forward-facing car seat, although it is recommended to keep them rear-facing as long as possible. Many rear-facing car seats convert to a forward-facing position, with a little bit of maneuvering. This type of convertible seat still has a harness that limits forward motion during a crash.
Once grown out of the forward-facing car seat, school-aged children graduated to the booster seat! This booster seat makes them feel more like a grown up, but elevates them so that the seatbelt is positioned over the strongest parts of their body. The seatbelt in your car loops over and under the booster seat to put them in the safest position.
In the car, all ages should be wearing a seatbelt - always! No exceptions. Promote safety for yourself, and your children will follow suit as they continue to grow. While they are young, use the resources we have available to get the right equipment and make the best choices for them.
Keep your kids safe when they are young and they will be strong when they are older. For more information on parenting, please visit http://www.pdhc.org/parenting.html