Posts for tag: Car Seats
Kids may complain about being restrained in the car, but car seats and booster seats save lives. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that using a car or booster seat in a passenger car reduces the risk of fatal injury 71 percent in children younger than 1 and 54 percent in toddlers ages 1 to 4. The statistics are just as impressive for older kids.
What type of seat should I use for my child?
Infants and toddlers should ride in rear-facing seats until they reach the highest weight or height recommended by the manufacturer. In the past, children were routinely removed from rear-facing seats when they were 2, even if they didn't meet height or weight limits. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently changed their guidelines and now recommend that kids remain in the seats as long as possible.
Toddlers and pre-schoolers who have reached the maximum height or weight limits for rear-facing seats should use forward-facing car seats. Again, the seats should be used until the child reaches the maximum height and weight recommendations.
Once kids are too tall or heavy for car seats, they will transition to booster seats. Booster seats should be used until children are 4'9" tall and 8 to 12 years old. Older children can begin using seat belts at that point but should sit in the back seat when possible, particularly if they're younger than 13.
How can I tell if the car seat is installed correctly?
Both car and booster seats should be securely fashioned with a latch system or seat belt. If the seat moves back and forth freely, it's not installed correctly. Properly installed seats should move no more than an inch in any direction.
My child's legs seem too long for the car seat. What should I do?
You may wonder if your child should move up to the next seat or a booster seat if your child's feet touch the back of car seat. As long as your child is shorter than the maximum height for the seat, he or she should remain in the current seat.
Should my child use a secondhand car seat?
Passing a seat down to your next child can be a good idea if your children are only a few years apart in age. Before you reuse a seat for a younger child, make sure that it hasn't expired or been recalled since you bought it. Throw away car and booster seats after accidents, even minor ones. The seat may look perfectly fine but may be damaged internally.
Buying secondhand car seats online or at yard sales should be avoided. You won't necessarily know if the seat has been in an accident or if it has defective latches or restraints.
Using car seats consistently, whether you're going to the grocery store or taking a cross-country trip, can help your child avoid serious injuries due to traffic accidents. Talk to your child's pediatrician if you have questions about the seats.
If you are going to be using a used car seat, make sure to research the seats history. Things to check for is if it comes with instructions and a label showing the manufacturer, if it has been recalled, if it is more than six years old, if it has no visible damage or missing parts, and if it has never been in a moderate or severe crash. If you don’t know the history, don’t use it.
Properly placing the car seat is vital. The safest place for your child’s car seat is in the back seat, away from active air bags. A child who rides forward facing in a car seat can also be harmed by air bags. If only one seat is being installed in the back seat, place it in the middle, rather than next to a door to minimize the risk of injury during a crash.
Do not use your car seat as a place for your child to sleep at home. Studies have shown that sitting upright in a car seat too often might compress a newborn’s chest and lead to lower levels of oxygen. Sitting in a car seat for lengthy periods of time can also cause the development of a flat spot on the back of the head, as well as gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Correctly buckling your child in a car seat is also very important. Be sure to read the car seat instructions and the vehicle’s owner’s manual section on car seats. The car seat should not move more than one inch when moved from side to side.
Keep your child rear facing as long as possible. Riding rear faced is recommended until the child reaches the age of 2, or 35 pounds.