Child Safety Seat Requirements
A number of child safety seat requirements are established by law. Each requirement is designed to assist us in selecting the safest child travel restraints for children. We’ve covered some basics here for you and we suggest you also check the specific information for your area as there is quite a lot of variation among states, provinces and certain countries. Use the following information as general guidelines and it will help you begin to understand all that you’ll need to know before choosing either an infant car seat or later booster seats.
All children under 8 (in some areas 9) years old must use a safety seat in a vehicle. This is because adult safety belts are not ideal for young children and there is significant risk associated with young children just using car safety belts without an approved child safety car seat. This information is applicable to all children traveling in a vehicle. It is a good idea to discuss requirements with caregivers and other family members.
Car safety seats must be used in the back seats only. The risk of airbags deploying with your child in the front seat is very dangerous and totally avoidable by having your child ride in the back of the car each and every time – no exceptions. An airbag can come out of the dashboard on average up to 200 miles per hour, it happens fast and poses a serious risk of injury. It is heart-breaking to hear of incidents where a child is seriously injured or killed because they were riding in the front and an airbag deployed causing the injury. This is particularly true when it is obvious if they were riding in the back seat, properly restraint for their age and size, they would have been fine. There are other considerations if your car is equipped with side-impact airbags. If you need to consider this issue because of the design of your vehicle contact the nearest Transportation office in your area. Child safety seat requirements are there to protect our children so follow them carefully.
All children above 8 but below 16 years must be secured in a safety belt in any position in the vehicle. This is where you may discontinue the use of a child safety car seat-in some cases, but do not neglect the use of safety belts, both lap and shoulder belts. In many locations, the law requires everyone to use seat belts in the vehicle regardless of age. It is the adult’s responsibility to ensure that every child is secure in the vehicle and there are hefty fines for violating these requirements. Also in many regions, the driver is held responsible for any passengers below a certain age not using the car seat belts.
Children with special needs who are exempted from certain requirements. This does not mean that they are able to ride in the vehicle unrestrained. Rather, their special needs such as having cerebral palsy, needing a breathing tube or recovering from certain types of surgery, which must be certified by a licensed physician, does not allow them to use traditional child safety car seats. There are specific car seats designed for these children and it is important to find out what particular type of seat will best suit your child and address their special need. We will be dedicating a new page on our site shortly of specific options for children facing these situations such as the Angel Guard Infant Bed primarily used if your baby is premature or the Snug Seat Hippo (USA) ideal for children who must wear a spica hip cast after surgery. We’ll have more information here about this topic so check back soon or send us an email and we’ll be happy to help you locate a product you need.
The child safety seat must not be used past its expiration date. In some instances, child safety seat requirements include expiration dates on certain products that are estimated according to the average amount of use or wear. Such information is obtainable from the manufacturer’s booklet, which will also include the certification of the car seat model according to safety standards. If the information is not readily available when you purchase your car seat, contact the manufacturer to get details. This is specifically important if you are using an older make and model of car seat that you previously used with an older child. The car seat will appear in good working order but may have passed the suggested date for safe use. Also, if you have had an infant car seat or child safety booster seat sitting around for awhile be sure to check for recalls or safety press releases before you use it again.
Always return the car seat if there is a recall issued. A child safety seat recall means that something has been found faulty in that particular type or model of the car seat. Do not ignore these warnings. Protect your child, contact the manufacturer to find out what type of return or replacement policy goes along with the recall. Also, when you purchase your product, ask about the warranty and select the product with the best coverage so that you can have it replaced in case of any problem.
These are a few basic requirements that you need to keep in mind about child safety seat requirements. For more information, visit your Governments Transportation Office, their website or contact a child safety specialist, public health office or your local police department to get expert advice on the laws that are applicable to your area.