Acquiring an infant or child car safety seat is an important task. As a parent or guardian of a child you need to take it seriously. If you do not buy the proper seat and then install and use it correctly it is your child's life you are putting at risk.
Each year approximately 1,800 children ages 14 and under are killed as occupants in motor vehicles, and more than 280,000 are injured according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Thirty percent of these injuries include children that were four years old or younger. If the seat is correctly placed in the back seat it is estimated that children under twelve are about 40 percent less likely to die in a crash. This should prove to you right away how important properly installed child car seats are to all children.
Though about 95 percent of adults believe they have installed and are properly using their car seat, nearly 75 percent are misusing the seat in some way. Securing infants, toddlers and other children in their child safety seats is the best known way to reduce their chance of serious injury in a motor vehicle crash.
The purchase of a child safety seat should be taken seriously. You can research the ratings of the safety seats on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Site and also find a list of recalled seats or parts. When buying a safety seat look for the DOT label stating that the seat conforms to safety standards and the date stamp of the manufacturer.
Keep in mind not every child safety seat will fit in every type of vehicle. Your car's seat belts may not be compatible with certain types of child safety seats. If the seat does not fit properly do not risk your child's life, return the seat and find one that works properly in your car or truck. The first type of child safety seat is for newborns or infants.
Newborn seats are used from birth to one year of age or at least 20 pounds. All newborns must ride in the back seat and be seated in a rear facing safety seat. The main reason for this rule is so that your child is not seriously injured in the event of a crash and the air bag inflating in the front seat. The baby should be secured in the seat so they do not slide from side to side.
The next step up is a toddler or convertible seat, it is used from one year of age and while the child weighs 20 to 40 pounds. This child safety seat faces forward, instead of the rear-facing one used for the newborns. As with all safety seats, the toddler seat should be installed in the back seat of your vehicle. Make sure the straps go over the child's shoulder and fit snuggly. The middle chest clip should be secured at armpit level.
As the child grows they will move out of their toddler seat. The next advancement regarding the child's safety seat is the booster seat. This is generally for a small child being of age 4 to 8 and under four feet nine inches in height. The lap belt should be strapped across the child's hips and they should also use a shoulder belt. The booster seat is the last transition from a safety seat to using the car's normal seat belts.
The final step is for children over 70 pounds or age 8 or older. Once the child is big enough to properly fit and use the adult safety belt built into the car, they can move out of their booster seat. The car's seat belt should fit snugly and across the lap and shoulders.
These are the types of seats to use as your child grows in weight and age. To install them properly follow the directions exactly. Remember if the car seat does not fit - return it and buy one that does. Never place an infant in a rear-facing child seat in the front seat of a vehicle of a car with a passenger side air bag. Newer trucks, where there is not a back seat to use, have a control switch to turn off that air bag so your child will not encounter that danger.
You should always use the safety seat as is stated in the manual and as recommended by the government. It is essential that you use all portions of the safety seat with the child. This means both the lap and shoulder portions should be connected and fitted snugly around the child. If you have problems installing the child seat you can contact local authorities such as a fire station usually for help. Finally as the child grows and begins to throw fits about being secured in their seat - be a role model, show the kids that you are buckled up in with your own safety belt. This should show your children it is not an option to be buckled in but the law.