There is nothing as important to know during car rides with your little ones as the car seat safety. Car seats are very essential pieces when it comes to the safety of these little beloved beings. The seats can be used for comfort, security and safety not only during car rides but also when traveling by air. The same seats can at times be used as carriage cribs among others. In a nutshell, you really need to know much about the car seats before you start your first ride with your infant.
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The lowdown when it comes to car safety seats
No parent who would wish to walk home on that day they leave the delivery hospitals. It is therefore worth saying that a parent will need a car seat just from the day of delivery. By law, in all the USA states among other countries and republics, an infant together with toddlers have to be properly and securely restrained in some car seat. Usually, this is a requirement and the child has to be restrained from day one to around the age of seven years. In addition to car seats, a good number of states require that the little ones ride in booster seats till they get to 60lbs in weight. Some states recommend a given age while others have a height limit recommendation. The journey towards your child’s safety starts with choosing the most appropriate car seat.
Choosing the most appropriate and safest car seat
For safety reasons, it is not advisable that you take haste in moving your little ones from one seat to the other. Let them use these car seats for the longest time possible. For instance, it is more secure for the children to rear-face ride than to ride on the front facing seats. You must therefore ensure that they graduate from the rear facing seats only when they have exceeded the seat limits. At times, it may even be prudent for you to buy a seat with higher recommendation or even use a convertible seat to ensure the little ones do rear facing ride for the longest possible period of time.
In 2009, there were 179,000 children injuries together with 1,000 deaths as a result auto crash in the United States of America. In fact, it has been proven that the leading cause of child death in the USA is as a result of car crash and car crash injuries. The main reason why most of these children were either injured or they died is because most of them were improperly restrained. This implies that the use of car seats, for those who didn’t use them, and the proper use of the same, for those who have been using them improperly would have saved the lives of most of these little beloved ones.
If you are not yet convinced and you think that a majority of these accidents were as a result of high speeding, then you need further statistics on the same. 75% of these car accidents were found to have happened on undivided highways and local roads and half of these happened on low speed limit roads such as streets with a limit of 44 mph. only about 25% of these accidents were as a result of fiery high speeding collisions.
The car seat is one baby gear piece that you cannot just afford doing without. Make haste and buy this product before the breaking of the water. In fact, it is very prudent that you shop for a car seat as early as during the sixth month of your pregnancy. This gives you all the plenty time needed to look for the most appropriate product.
Car seat safety: Choosing a right safety seat
In the USA, all the seats that are in the market for consumer use do meet the stringent crash & fire safety regulations and standards’ hence buying any of these is technically safe. However, there are some countries that have seats that may be hazardous being circulated in their markets. In addition, the secondhand seats don’t ride in the same surety standards. If it is a second hand car seat, or one that you bought a number of years back, you need to check it well to confirm that it has not been recalled. The last decade witnessed a period when thousands and thousands of car seats were recalled because there are some safety standards that they failed to meet. There are also those secondhand seats that have not been recalled but as a result of a car crash, they may have been damaged. Someone may be keen to cash on a product they know pretty well that it doesn’t meet the safety standards hence the need for you to be more keen.
With all these in mind, even if the car seat has met the government safety standards, there are some safety related problems that the same can still present especially if they are improperly installed or them as incorrectly used? Therefore, in a nutshell, the best car seat you can be assured of using without any unreasonable complications is that which properly fits your little one, fits well in your car and is also very easy to use. There are generally three basic car seat types that parents can choose from and these are:
- Baby cars seats also called infant only car seats: these are seats that need to be facing where the car is coming from. I mean they are rear facing seats. Most of these seats have a weight limit range between 22 pounds & 35 pounds. Some have a height limit of up to around 50 inches. When the little one reaches either of the limits i.e. weight or height limit, it is prudent that you move them to the convertible car seats that are facing the rear side. It is not wise to rash them to the forward facing seats.
- Convertible car seat, also called infant-toddler seats: these just as the name suggests can be converted from rear facing to front facing. It is a seat that can easily be oriented and is appropriate for parents who would travel with different age group children at different times. When travelling with a child below the age of three years, you can orient the seat to be rear facing. On the other side, while travelling with children above the age of three, the use of the convertible car seat can be changed to front facing. Most of the new convertible car seats can be used by children of up to 40 lbs during rear facing rides and up to 70 pounds when it comes to front facing rides. It is the safest thing for your little ones to be left rear-facing for the longest time possible. In fact, according to the latest guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the child would be safest if left to use the rear facing car seats till at least they reach two years in age.
- Best – positioning booster car seats: these are seats designed for little ones who have attained at least the age of four years and weight forty pounds on the lower side. The regular car lap together with the shoulder belts is what is used for securing the baby. When your automobile seat provides some form of head support, the use of backless booster is not objectionable. However, if the car lacks this head support facility, then you have no otherwise but to buy a model that has the back and harness systems.
There are several documents and sites you can visit to get more information about car seat safety. They also tell about its proper installation together with appropriate use of the car seats. As a matter of fact, there are also some more experienced parents around whom you can talk to about the use of these worthy products. Sample at least three parents and listed to their views, experiences and knowledge as far as the safety of the little ones is concerned during travels and rides.
Correct installation of car seats is the key
It may sound harder and tougher to install a car seat than it just sounds. According to the NHTSA, there are some common mistakes that a good number of parents and car seat owners do. Some of these include:
- The threading of seat belts so that there is no regularity that can be traced
- Slotting the seat belts onto the wrong slots not designed for them
- Failure to use the locking clips even when they are necessary and much required
- Failure to buckle up the little one in the car seat.
- Very loose installation of the car seats.
Car seat types that should never be used
If the car seat you want to buy or the one you bought before having done enough research falls in to any of the categories below, then it is never wise to use them. A car seat that has correctly been installed will never move for more than a single inch either in front, backwards or to either of the sides. According to the NHTSA reports, 75% of the car seats are never properly installed. If the car seat you bought still moves more than an inch even after proper installation, you have probably been duped. However, if it is moving much because of improper installation, remove it and seek for better installation guidance before using the seat. Lower Anchors & Tethers for Children, also known by its acronym LATCH is a car seat installation standardized system that ensures the seat is stabilized and any potential head injury highly reduced. The LATCH system has made installation work easier for parents as no seat belts are used during installation.
- All the cars that were designed and manufactured after 2002 must have 2 lower backseat anchors at the point of intersection between the back seat and the cushion. They must also have a number of other anchors at the topside of the vehicle’s seat. This is a mandatory requirement within the USA.
- All the children safety car seats that were manufactured after the same 2002 must always have hooks or tethers which are connected to the anchors of the car. These are important accessories for use during car seat installation.
- There must be a top tether factored in the design and manufacture of the front facing car seat you want to buy. These tethers are in many occasions ignored by parents. There are those who even never bother to fasten these top tethers not knowing how much risks the tethers reduce during crashes.
- Booster seats will on some occasions have some underneath LATCH attachments. It is important to know that such LATCH is not necessary when it comes to booster seat use. Booster seats are designed and manufactured to employ the use of shoulder belts together with the lap belts.
So many researches have been done to aid parents and guardians on car seat safety. Most of parents are ignorant of the findings of these researches. It is the duty of everyone to ensure that their little ones are safe during rides and travels. Cars seats are essentials in the safety of our children. Knowing the most appropriate models, how to install and how to use these precious necessities will not only keep your child safer from injuries and death but will also ensure that you do not brush shoulders with the law.