Car Seat Safety

booster seatsA car seat is the best way to provide protection for a child when traveling on the road. Road collisions are unpredictable and very dangerous especially to a child. For your child to be safe when you are behind the wheel, there are a number of car seat safety rules to keep in mind.

Always use a car seat until your child can be supported safely with a safety belt. The average age that a child can be secured using the car’s safety belt is 8 years, with the average height being 4 ft 9 in tall. It may vary slightly according to the individual child’s body weight and development, so the main idea is not necessarily their age or their height but their weight too and the fit of the safety belt. Use your child safety seat for as long as it takes and use it every time your child is riding in a car.

Always use car seats in the back seat of your vehicle. The danger of air bags getting released in your child’s face is often more of a risk of injury or fatality than some collisions. It can take surprisingly little impact to release the air bags which pose a serious danger to a child. When your child is very young, infant car seats in the rear-facing position are the safest way to have your child travel in the car.

Your car seat MUST meet government safety regulations. Car seat safety is consistently changing with new discoveries and methods of protecting a child in travel. Make sure that your car seat is made by a reputable manufacturing company and that it meets the certification and safety demands as required by law for your specific geographical region. Register your car seat to get updates about any changes or recalls for the product.

All seat belts and the harness should lock securely. A car seat comes with its own safety belts to secure your child in place. You must use your car’s safety belts, too. Check that seat belts lock and that all click into place. Establish a habit of giving them a tug to feel how securely fixed they are. The aim is to keep your child from getting moved around too much or getting thrown around in the car seat in case of a sudden stop or collision.

Your baby or toddler should fit snugly in your car seat to ensure comfort. Your child needs comfort in the car seat. You can add padding to the car seat or buy other accessories that will keep your baby content while you drive. This goes a long way not just in car seat safety but driving safety as well, because a happy child will mean fewer distractions for you, which will in turn lead to safe arrival to your destination.

Never, ever purchase a used car seat or booster seat for an older child. It is true that car seats are expensive and a used one can save you money, but a used car seat may be damaged due to being involved in a collision and it may very well not meet safety regulations. This is why it is best to begin planning to buy a car seat long before your child needs their first one or requires an upgrade as they grow so that you can have a brand new car seat and know it is safe.

Your car seat should fit securely into the seat of your car. Check the installation manual for the right way to install the car seat and follow each section of the guidelines. When you purchase your car seat ask the retailer about their return policy in case it does not fit well in your particular vehicle.

Think ahead about different family vehicles, care-giver vehicle and don’t forget the Grandparents. This is a great time to have every one attend a car clinic and ensure care seat safety by having each vehicle checked for a proper fit. Make sure you understand any adjustments you may need when switching vehicles. If possible, have a car seat for each vehicle, this not only ensures a proper fit and avoids having to move the seat around a lot, but you can feel confident it is installed and used in a way that promotes the best car seat safety possible.