Car Seats – Choosing the Correct Type for Your Child

Traveling in vehicles is a necessary element to our day-to-day lives. Going to the park or taking your kids to school happens almost daily, which is why keeping your children safe in vehicles is so important. Car seats and booster seats provide protection for infants and children in the event of a crash or accident. Yet car crashes are a leading cause of injury or death for children from one year old to thirteen years old. For this reason, choosing and using the correct car seat every time you place your child into the car seat is crucial to keeping him safe.

Installing and using car seats correctly is important to the health and safety of your child. Car seats can be inspected to ensure that they are being used correctly and can be registered in case of recall notices. If you receive a recall notice on your child’s car seat, immediately follow the instructions to follow.

There are four different kinds of car seats for different aged children. As your child grows, how she sits in the car will change, which is why using the right car seat that fits your child’s age and size is important. Not all car seats fit in all vehicles. Test the car seat that you plan to use to make sure it fits well in your vehicle, and only buy a car seat that can be installed and used correctly each time.

The rear-facing car seat is the best seat to use for young children, for as long as you can from birth up to age 3. It has a harness and, in the event of a crash, cradles and moves with your child to reduce the stress to the child’s fragile neck and spinal cord. The infant-only car seat is a small, portable seat that can only be used in a rear-facing manner. Most babies outgrow this seat before their first birthday, which is when parents need to transition to a convertible seat or all-in-one seat. As a child grows, convertible seats can change from rear-facing to forward-facing with a harness and tether. It can be used with children of various sizes, which allows for them to stay in the rear-facing position longer.

Forward-facing car seats have a harness and tether that limits your child’s forward movement in the event of a crash. They may be used for children between one year old and seven years old. Continuing to use the convertible seat or transitioning to the combination seat are best for growing children. The combination seat transitions from a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether into a booster seat.

Booster seats are the final option of seat that children need to use before transitioning to the standard seat belt. They are recommended for children between four and twelve years old. Convertible seats may be used, but booster seats are also available. There are two kinds of booster seats: seats with high backs and seats without backs at all. The high back seat is designed to boost the child’s height, so that the seat belt fits properly while providing head and neck support. It is ideal for vehicles that do not have head rests or high seat backs. Backless booster seats are also designed to boost the child’s height, so that the seat belt fits properly. They do not provide head and neck support, making it ideal for vehicles with head rests.

Once your child reaches eight years old and eighty pounds, he or she may be able to transition to a seat belt alone and transition away from car seats. As some children’s heights are shorter than others, and the seat belt may not fit correctly, here are other points to consider:

As a general guideline, a child has outgrown a forward-facing seat when any of the following situations is true:
• They reach the top weight or height allowed for his seat with a harness (These limits are listed on the seat and in the instruction manual).
• Their shoulders are above the top harness slots.
• The tops of their ears have reached the top of the seat.

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