Car seat safety is critical to your child’s health and well being. However making sense of all of the options and necessities can be very infusing. Here is Birth You Desire’s quick guide for you.

The safest car set for you child is one that fits your child, fits your car, and is easy for you to use. The car seat needs to be designed for your child’s height and weight. Over or undersized get the car seat is not safe. The seat needs to fit securely in your car. Consider having a professional installer verify your seat’s proper placement and anchors. The seat that you use needs to be easy to use so that you use it properly.

What to look for in a car seat

  • A 5-point harness: which has straps over the shoulder, hips, and between the legs. Avoid 3-point harnesses.
  • Harness adjuster & buckle: the adjuster is used to tighter or loosen the hardness a strap is located by the child’s feet (not at their back). The buckle should be easy to use with 1 hand and yet stiff enough that a child cannot unbuckle themselves.
  • Chest clip: should be easy to use and yet mov enough for adjusting with a winter coat.
  • Latch connections: for cars with latch connectors.
  • New car seat with all parts and instruction: avoid used car seats due to age (car seats have an expiration date after 6 years), previous poor use, missing parts, and constantly changing recalls. Check for recalls at Safe Car.

Car seat stages

  1. Rear Facing
    • Rear facing are used from birth
    • Rear facing only are used for children 22-40 pounds
    • Rear facing convertible used for 30-50 pounds
  2. Forward Facing
    • Forward facing for children over 2 years who weight over 20 pounds
    • Forward combination for children 40-90 pounds with a harness, but can be used as a booster once the child his bigger
  3. Booster seat
    • Booster seat with a lap-should belt is for children 10+ years

Before you buy a car seat

It is ideal if you can take the carseat to your car and install it prior to purchasing it. This can avoid costly mistakes .

Installing your car seat

  • Always follow institutions for both the car and the car seat. Once installed, properly the car seat should not be able to be shifted side-to-side for more than 1 inch.
  • Have your car seat installation inspected by Certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technician. Check with your local police or fire department to see if they have a CPS technician on staff. If not, search Safe Kids for a technician near you.
  • If you are especially anxious about car seat safety, you may hire a CPS technician to install your car seat for you.

*Note this information is based on 2017 Child Safety Facts and the America Academy of Pediatrics. For the most up-to-date information on car seat safety, Pregnancy After Loss Support recommends following The Car Seat Lady on Facebook or her blog.

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