As a parent, your child’s safety is your highest priority. Whether you go for a quick errand or for a long drive, you take every precaution to keep your child safe even at the back of your seat. The car safety protocol, such as fastening seatbelts, is probably what you always do when you bring your little one for a ride.
It is indeed one step to safety but if you have an infant, toddler or maybe older children, having those seatbelts on does not always keep your child fully equipped against accidents or injuries. That is why most parents prefer car seats or child safety seats.
Why You Should Use A Car Seat?
Car seats or child safety seats are designed to secure children, babies or toddlers against collisions or any possible danger while inside the vehicle. These seats are installed inside the vehicle primarily in the middle of the back seat and commonly on one side. Some parents place it, however, in the front seat as long as safety precautions are implied.
These car seats have been recommended by most parents as they have proven that these car seats reduce or event prevent the risk of injuries in their children. Health studies provided by the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, also show that children placed on child safety seats such as booster seats, forward-facing and rear-facing convertible seats have acquired half of the injury risk or may even prevent it. Hence, child safety seats are highly recommended and should be installed in a vehicle to keep your children safe.
If you are thinking of getting one of these child safety seats, however, you should consider some factors. Taking these reminders in mind will help you get the appropriate car seat for your child. The effectivity of such equipment also depend on the correct installation and proper use.
Factors To Consider
Before you head out to the nearest car equipment shop or browse the online stores, you may want to consider these factors to get the best and most appropriate car seat for your child.
1. Child’s Age, Height and Weight
Car seats have different types – rear-facing or forward-facing convertible seats and booster seats. These are designed according to the child’s age, height and weight. Because the weight or height may still vary according to the child’s age, various car seat manufacturers indicate their respective research regarding the child’s accurate body information. They do provide what height or weight is allowed for theircar seats. However, the information listed below is the average basis. Check the table for the detailed guidelines.
2. Available Car Space/Room
There are different types of vehicles which vary according to their sizes. Thus, the available car space or room also differs. As it is most recommended to place the car seats at the back of your seat, it is important to consider checking this space or available room before buying a car seat. You don’t want it to wobble neither get stuck as the vehicle moves. You have to check what would perfectly fit for your child and for your vehicle as well. Car seats come in different sizes so considering this factor will help you choose the best product.
As a parent, budgeting is one of your major responsibilities. So, putting another equipment in your buying list means careful adjustment in the budget. Undoubtedly, you want to choose the best car seat for your child to comply with the safety protocol but you don’t want to go over the budget. Then so, you may want to browse or canvass first among the best, reliable and durable car seats that will suit your budget. The best products are not always the expensive ones. Look for a car seat that is affordable yet can withstand long periods of time.
Types Of Car Seats
As what was mentioned before, there are different car seats or child safety seats that are designed according to your child’s age, height or weight. Keeping yourself familiar from these types of car seats will also help you how to install and prepare yours correctly and use it effectively.
Infant Car Seats (Rear-facing car seats) – This is also called as baby seats or infant carriers. This type is designed for newborn babies to 15 months of age. These are often installed with a base where you can place the carrier or infant car seat and keep it fit. It is placed in the vehicle rear-facing and in a semi-recumbent position. A harness is included which holds the baby in place while the vehicle seatbelt keeps the infant seat more secured. Having the infant car seat faced backwards in the back seat of the vehicle reduces or even prevents the impact during a collision thus keeps it intact and keeps your baby safe as well. This explains why it shouldn’t be mounted forward-facing.
- Convertible (Forward-facing or rear-facing car seats) – Convertible seats are recommended for children from 9 months to 4 years of age though older children can sometimes use this type. From the name itself, convertible seats can be altered either forward-facing or rear-facing. However, AAP or American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to have the car seat mounted rear-facing until your child reaches 2 years old or until he or she exceeds the height or weight limit of the car seatwhatever the child’s age is. It is for a safer, or safest rather, ride in the vehicle. With such position, it reduces the risk of injury or even prevents the child from death against collisions or car accidents.
- Booster seats – Booster seats are recommended for children from 4 to 10 years of age or until the child is capable of using the vehicle’s seatbelt. Its name “booster” defines how these seats work. It boosts or elevates the child’s position in order to be firmly fit to the vehicle’s seatbelt. This is usually acquired by many children who have outgrown their forward-facing convertible car seats. Some may think that booster seats need not to be installed since seatbelts are already available. However, these seatbelts are designed for adults or people of larger sizes which explains why they won’t fit perfectly and firmly on a child’s body. These booster seats don’t include harness and are secured by the vehicle’s seatbelt.
Proper Installation For Effective Use
Car seats become less effective or would not be effective at all due to improper installation and wrong seat placement. Such inaccuracies are not just a slight error. According to a car crash study in the US, children would be more prone to accidents and might be fatally injured or even die during a collision. Hence, taking the seat placements and proper installation a serious matter can absolutely keep your child safe.
Convertible or infant car seats are recommended to be placed in the safest spot of the back seat – the center. But most car seats are installed only on one side since it is more comfortable and appropriate for the installation. The center may be the safest but the least spot to have the car seats installed. In this case, if the car seat cannot be installed properly in the middle of the back seat, then it would be better to have it installed on one side where it is more suitable.
As much as possible, do not place the car seats in the front seat or passenger seat where active airbags are installed. If the car seat is placed in the front and a collision occurs, the airbags will be activated and it will definitely hit the car seat causing an impact to the child’s head. This may cause fatal head injuries.If ever there is a need to place the car seat in front, if it is possible, disable the airbags.
Manuals are always provided whenever you purchase the product. Detailed instructions about how car seats should be installed are indicated. Usually, installation for rear-facing convertible seats is not as easy as pie. To help you out how these should properly be installed, you may check the video below.
Car Seat Essentials And Additional Accessories
You know how delicate children and you always want to make sure they get enough comfort while inside the vehicle. As a parent, you definitely have to prep yourself up and meet all their necessities. Sometimes, you’ve got to go beyond what you usually know or use and make some adjustments and give way for additional accessories for your child’s car seat. Consider some of these car essentials.
- Car seat mirror – For newborn babies, toddlers or even older children, convertible car seats are recommended to be placed in the back seat and be mounted rear-facing. With this position, you definitely want to keep on the watch as much as possible. The car seat mirror or back seat mirror will help you do so. You can watch over your child whenever you have to and keep track of whatever they’re doing.
- Car window shades – The sun’s natural heat benefits to one’s health and even to your baby but too much exposure to it may cause skin and health problems. The car window shade is another car essential for your baby’s protection. It protects your little one from the harsh exposure to the sun and even prevents harmful UV rays.
- Car seat travel bag – For your child’s safety, you sometimes opt to take the car seat with you wherever you go. It could be somewhere out from the vehicle such as airports. It would be such a hassle to just carry it around but the car seat travel bag will let you do it in a more convenient way. These car seat travel bags provide proper storage, easy luggage and portability for your child’s car seat. These are usually designed with backpack straps or carrying straps which enable you to keep your hands free while carrying the baby or pushing the stroller.
- Car seat protector – On a long drive or maybe a short trip, you would go over rough and steep roads which may cause your child’s car seat to move. For some parents, to prevent any possible danger and to keep their child in its place, they use car seat protectors. It is a kind of mat made of plastic or polyester that are placed under a car seat. It features a non-skid surface which keeps your child’s car seat from moving or wobbling.
- Baby sleep positioner – Babies or toddlers cannot control their movements and they tend to go whatever position they prefer when they sleep. The baby sleep positioner is another helpful car seat accessory to keep your baby or toddler in place while he or she sleeps. It is a kind of band that is attached on the car seat and serves as a head support for the baby while sleeping.
- Car seat toys – When children or babies sit for long hours on their car seats, they get bored. They tend to be playful most of the time and look for something they can make fun with. There are toys that are designed for car seats that you can consider buying to keep your child busy while on a long drive. Just make sure that the material and its parts are safe for children.
- Seatbelt Buckle Guard – When your child is on his seat and you fasten his seatbelts on, you would probably be relieved that he is all but secured. After a few hours, your child gets bored, he unbuckles the seatbelt, roams around the car and climbs over the seats! You would definitely be alarmed how one push from the seatbelt would endanger your child’s life! That’s when the seat belt buckle guards are designed for. It is placed on the seatbelt receiver, keeps it secured and prevents your child from unbuckling the seatbelt. Only an adult can unlock the buckle guard with a key.
May it be at home, out in the streets or inside the vehicle, keeping your child safe is undeniably not easy and may require extensive efforts. However, with proper implementation of safety precaution, while inside a vehicle for example, would minimize such injuries, accidents and could even prevent death. Jot down these reminders and give the best care your child deserves.