If there is one thing a lot of children don’t like doing, it is sitting still throughout car journeys. However, safety always comes first, and a comfortable car seat is, therefore, a necessity. Nevertheless, it is not just about having a car seat. You need to make sure that it is right for your child and that you use it properly. With that being said, read on to discover important guidelines for car seat safety, including some tips on what to consider when looking for the perfect car seat.
Important Car Seat Safety Tips
Firstly, let’s take a look at some vital car seat safety tips so that you can make sure you are using the car seat appropriately. While car seats are designed to provide protection, they can actually be a danger if you do not use them correctly. So, here are some important tips to follow…
Never put your baby in a car seat with a blanket wrapped around him or her – This is incredibly dangerous because the blanket can cause your child to slip out of the car seat. If your little one is cold, you can place a blanket gently over the top of the car seat, but it should never be in between the baby and the strap that is keeping your little one secure.
Make certain that the harness is snugly buckled around your child – The straps should be placed over your little one’s shoulder. The harness needs to be altered to make sure that you are only able to slip on finger under neat the strap at your child’s chest. The chest clip should be placed at armpit levels.
Check to be sure that the seat is tightly in place – You also need to be certain that the safety belt is keeping the car seat securely in place. For each direction, use the correct belt slots if you have a car seat that can be used facing either way. When securing the safety seat, the belt must always be tight.
Make sure your baby reads facing the rear to begin with – It is important to make sure your baby rides facing the rear until he or she is at least nine-months-old. Most experts will recommend doing this until they are at least one-year-old or 20/22 pounds. You may be wondering why this is a necessity. The reason this is a must is because very young babies are especially are a risk for injuries to the spinal cord and head because their ligaments and bones are still developing. Their structural support system is also a little bit on the wobbly side because their heads are proportionally bigger than their necks. Because of this, rear-facing seats ensures your child’s spine, neck, and head get better support, which will top your child’s head from being thrown away from the body if you were to be involved in a road traffic accident.
Make sure your child rides in the back seat – While it can be tempting to have your baby next to you, the backseat is generally considered safer should there be a car crash. It is especially vital that your child rides in the back if they are under the age of 12 and you have a passenger airbag.
What to Consider When Choosing a Car Seat
Now that you know about some of the most important tips regarding the use of a car seat, let’s take a look at some tips that you should follow when buying one:
Make sure the car seat fits your vehicle – Not all car seats fit all vehicles, so one of the first things you need to do is make sure the car seat you are considering is compatible with the car you are driving. Trying to force the wrong car set into your car is never a good idea. This can be dangerous as the car seat may not be secure.
Different styles of car seats for different ages – There are many different styles of car seats on the market. It is important to have a good understanding of the options that are available and what age group they are suitable for. So, let’s take a look…
Baby car seats (group 0+) – These car seats are suitable from birth to 12 months / babies that weigh around 13 kg. They are best for moving between vehicle and foot. So, if you travel by car and then continue by foot, these car seats are ideal for such a transition. The vast majority of them can be attached to a compatible pushchair. They are always used in a rearward facing position. Babies must travel this direction until they are nine months old, although experts recommend that they do so until they reach their first birthday at least. These car seats are lightweight so that you can easily transport your baby by foot too.
Combination car seats (group 0+/1) – Next we have combination car seats, which are ideal from birth to 18 kg, which is roughly around the age of 4-years-old. These are the most versatile option. They enable your baby to seat rear-facing until they are old enough to switch position. Unlike a baby car seat, these car seats do not come out of your car – they remain in the vehicle. They are not to be used with a pushchair as a consequence. They tend to feature a reclining seat so that newborns can travel in more of a lie-flat position.
Forward-facing car seats (group 1) – As mentioned earlier, babies need to be rearward facing for the first nine months at least, and so this type of car seat is not suitable until they have reached the nine-month stage. It is designed for babies between the weight of 9 kg and 18 kg, which is essentially between nine-months-old and four-years-old. Most of these seats can either be reclined for on-the-move snoozing or upright.
High back booster seats with integral harness (group 1-2-3) – Next, we have the high back booster seat, which is designed for children weighing between 9 kg and 36 kg, which is approximately between nine-months-old and 12-years-old. These seats are ideal for longevity, as they last until your child no longer requires a car seat. These seats will come with a headrest that is height adjustable to ensure that your child is comfortable at every stage. It also ensures the seatbelt is always at the correct height for maximum safety. A harness is used to keep younger children secure and safe, but this can be removed for older children who can use the seatbelt. The high sides and back of the design ensure your child’s head and chest benefit from extra protection.
Backless booster seats (group 3) – These seats are designed for children between 4-years-old and 12-years-old, or 22 kg to 36 kg. They are best for supplying a handy standby seat for older children when their usual seat is not available, for example, when in a taxi or using a friend’s vehicle. These seats are easy to carry around and convenient to store.
I-size seats – If you want to keep your baby facing reward for longer, this seat enables you to do so. It is designed for babies from birth until they are approximately four year’s old. These seats are based on the height of the child rather than the weight, with the suitable height being up to 105 cm.
Take the time to read reviews – It is also a good idea to read reviews that have been left by other parents so you can see what they have had to say about the car seat you are considering. This will alert you to any red flags so that you can stay away from products with a bad reputation and those with unexpected potential safety issues.
Hopefully, you now feel more prepared when it comes to car seat safety. Use the tips that have been provided above to help you find the perfect car seat for your child. There are so many options available today, which can make it a bit overwhelming, but if you follow the guidelines provided, you can make sure you purchase the right option for your little one. Not only this but if you also take note of the car seat safety tips, you can make sure you are using it correctly too so that the car seat provides safety and protection, rather than being a hazard.