Safety Tips When Using Baby Car Seats
In most states in the United States, the law requires that babies and young children use special car seats designed for their safety when riding in the car. When used properly, baby car seats can greatly reduce the risk of serious injury to babies and children in the event of a collision. Simply having the car seat in the car is not enough to ensure maximum protection for your child, however; you should follow these additional safety guidelines when using baby car seats to ensure that your children stay safe when traveling by car.
Choose the Right Seat for Your Child’s Age and Size
There are specific baby car seats designed for children, depending on their age. During the first few months of life, children should ride in rear-facing baby car seats; they can switch to front-facing car seats when they are old enough to sit upright on their own. Likewise, it is still possible for a preschool-aged child to fit into a car seat designed for a toddler, but the toddler seat will not protect him as well as a car seat designed for a child of his size. You know that your child is too big for his car seat if you cannot fasten all of the belts; if you can fasten the belt around his waist, but he is too big for the shoulder straps, it is time for a new car seat.
Fasten the Car Seat Securely into the Car
Most baby car seats have an elaborate set of belts and buckles on the back by which to attach the seat to the car; in addition to these, you can also thread the car’s seat belt through the back of some baby car seats to secure the seat even further. Do not transport a child in a car seat that is only partially attached, as it will not provide enough protection; it might even be less safe than letting a kindergarten-aged child sit in the back seat and wear a lap belt. Because of all of these belts and buckles, it can be time consuming to install baby car seats, especially if you frequently have to move the car seat into the cars of different family members, depending on who will be transporting the child, but you cannot afford to skip the step of installing the child’s car seat properly.