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Safety needs to be a top priority when it comes to your precious baby. There aren’t many more important products than the car seat is when it comes to child safety. The seat needs to fit correctly and be the right type for the particular age and size of the child. A car seat can save a child’s life and also save on your car insurance costs. There are a lot of specifics when it comes to choosing and installing the right seat, but it doesn’t have to be confusing or stressful to find the right one for your child. Before purchasing a seat, it’s important to know the different types of seats and what criteria a child needs to meet to use each particular one.
Types of Car Seats:
- Infant Car Seat – The first car seat that is purchased is rear facing and is necessary for a child from birth to approximately one year of age. As with all seats, it is installed in a back seat. This model needs to be at a 45° angle, and the harness straps should be at or below the level of the shoulders.
- Convertible – A convertible seat can be a rear or forward facing car seat. It varies according to the manufacturer and model, but most of them can be used for younger children who are between 20 and 40 pounds. This seat should also have the harness straps at or below the shoulders.
- Forward Facing – When a child is about 35 pounds, he can use a forward facing model. In the past, the general guideline was that as soon as a child turned one, he or she could be put into a forward facing seat, but this is no longer what the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends. It is best for the child’s safety if he remains rear facing for as long as possible-until he outgrows the infant car seat.
- Booster – Once a child reaches 40lbs, he or she may be able to utilize a booster car seat. These seats have the child facing forward and are the final step before he can sit in a car with just a seat belt.
Several important tips and suggestions will make it easier to pick out the perfect car seat. All newly manufactured seats have to pass federal guidelines, so there is no instance where one seat will be safer than another. The only exception to this would be when comparing a new seat to a used seat. It is always recommended to purchase a brand new model.
1. Easy Installation in New Vehicles
All modern vehicles now feature car seat connection points. This LATCH system is found in all vehicles since 2002. These are usually on the back most seat and are sometimes signified with a baby or car seat logo on the upholstery or on a seat belt. The owner’s manual of the particular vehicle should be reviewed to see if there are any particular precautions or suggestions associated with the model of the car.
2. Is it the Right Car Seat for Your Baby?
Having the child the correct seat will ensure he is the safest. It is always essential that you follow recommended guidelines. This will mean that multiple seats are purchased as a child is growing up.
3. Space Planning before Installing Your Car Seat
Make sure you plan the best vehicle and spot before installing your car seat. A common mistake would be to purchase a car seat only to find that other people are no longer able to sit comfortably or safely in the car. This is especially important if two car seats need to be used in one vehicle. Also, the seat may extend quite a bit past the base of the back. This means that the front seat will most likely need to be pulled forward. Anyone who is tall may then have a difficult time comfortably sitting in the front. Be sure to plan appropriately for all of these adjustments.
4. Easy to Clean Car Seats are the Best
Children are messy. There is no denying that fact. Purchasing a car seat that is easy to clean up will save time and aggravation. One that has a removable cover and smooth surfaces is ideal. Anything with excessive amounts of detail or stitching will hold bits of food and dirt.
5. Restraint Harnesses on Car Seats
Most of the models that are available will feature a five point harness. There is a top strap that goes above the shoulders and a lower connection point that will come up between and above the legs attaching to the above pieces. These need to be pulled snug. They do not do their job if they are loose, and they need to be easy for the adult to operate yet difficult for the child to unbuckle.
6. Easy Car Seat Installation is Best
In some cases, a seat will need to be installed and moved to different vehicles. Because of this, the process for installation should only take a short amount of time and be extremely easy. Many seats will have directions and information right on the unit. There is also a level or indicator that will show the user the proper angle for installation.
7. Is the Car Seat the Most Current design?
Before purchasing anything, one should review safety information to ensure that a particular model is up to date and meets current safety standards. From time to time, these standards get revised and various items even get recalled. Because of that fact, shopping at a reputable store like Simple Baby Necessities will mean that only the most current designs are sold.
8. Register and Properly Install Your Car Seat
Once purchased, registering the model with the company will ensure that the users are always up-to-date with any of these safety recalls and with appropriate product notifications. Safety should always be the most important factor when purchasing anything for a young child. With adequate research, it is quite easy to purchase the perfect car seat for your child. One final step would be to have the seat checked by a professional. Many times, local hospitals and police/fire departments will offer clinics where they inspect installed seats at no charge.