Car Seats and Your Child: What You Need to Know
Child car seats are one of the most common concerns for both new and experienced parents. The ever-changing features may be good for the safety of the children, but parents tend to have a difficult time grasping not only how to install these seats properly but which to even choose for their child. Therefore, the following list entails some of the most important things to know about child car seats.
Why Buy a Child Car Seat?
The straightforward answer to that question is simple; they save lives. Often, we hear parents say that there is nothing wrong with placing their children on their lap. Unfortunately, this places a child at more risk than simply putting them in a seatbelt. A car accident at only 35mph has enough force to snatch your child away from your arms and straight to the windshield. This might sound graphic, but it is a necessary truth that parents need to hear. When it comes to buckling them into a regular car seat, the CDC states that by buckling a child into a car seat, you have instantly decreased the chances of fatality by a whopping 71 percent. It should be clear now why it is so important to invest in a car seat for your child.
Types of Car Seat
One of the most common frustrations for parents is when they have to purchase a car seat. Understandably, it can be overwhelming to step into a baby store only to see isles upon isles of car seats. Fortunately, most car seats are safe because they have to live up to government standards. This also means that you don’t have to feel bad about not purchasing the most expensive ones. With that out of the way, now let’s move on to actually choosing the right type for your child and yourself. One of the most popular choices includes convertible car seats. Convertible car seats offer many benefits that other car seats do not have. These types of seats are great for parents because they can essentially last you the entirety of your child’s growing years (ages 2–7). They are able to convert from rear-facing seats to front-facing seats instantly. A great add on is that they can also adjust to the rapid growth that parents see within their babies.
According to the NHTSA, over 46 percent of child car seats are installed incorrectly. Interestingly enough, the study also found that 90 percent of the parents were confident that they did not have to read the instructions to understand how they should be installed properly. After looking through the evidence, researchers concluded that the most common mistake made by parents is not strapping the car seat tight enough to the car. This error can cause a car seat to either be tilted too much where a child’s head will be in danger of whiplash or too far back where the child can essentially slide off their seat if the impact is hard enough.
Ratings & Safety Labels
Most car seats are created by following government guidelines. However, even with this knowledge, every parent should remain vigilant and inspect their car seat before use. This means looking for the car seat’s safety label. This will ensure that it has been tested and approved by the government. In addition, you might also want to check for the NHTSA approved rating. Any seat with a four to five-star rating will ensure safety and easy installation.
When to Switch to Forward-Facing
This is a question that many parents have on their minds the minute they place their child on a car seat for the first time. Although the norm used to be that a child can be turned around after their 2nd birthday, new recommendations by the NHTSA state that children should be facing towards the rear for as long as possible.
Most parents want nothing but the best for their children, and often this begins with purchasing their first car seat. However, with so many choices and ways to install one, it can be very daunting. Therefore, it is recommended that parents adhere to the list above to begin researching beforehand the right way to purchase, install, and ultimately protect their child in a car seat.
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