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Car Seat Safety: Protect Your Precious Cargo

October 23, 2018

One of the most important jobs of being a parent is keeping your child safe. A car seat may seem like a simple purchase, but do your research beforehand. There are so many brands and different types of car seats on the market today. Make sure you purchase the correct type for your child based on their age, size, and developmental needs.  Also, consult the car seat’s manual for proper safety information and installation instructions before anything else.

Car seats should be installed with either the LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) system or the vehicle’s seat belt. Many parents prefer using the LATCH system due to its increased safety features compared to the seat belt. Always check your owner’s manual of the car seat to see what the manufacturer recommends for installation.

Front seats should only be used by older individuals. Children sitting in the front seat have a much higher chance of serious injury in the event of an accident. The rear facing seat should be used until the child is at least two years old or outgrows the seat based on the specifications allowed by the manufacturer. The next kind of car seat your child will need is a convertible or forward-facing seat. They should stay in this seat until they reach the height or weight limit allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer.

A booster seat will be the last car seat your child needs. You should keep your child in a booster seat until they are big enough to properly fit in a seat belt. In order for a seat belt to fit, the lap belt must lay snugly across the upper thighs, not the abdomen. The shoulder belt should not cross the neck or face in any way.

Always double check that everything is installed correctly before driving with your child in their car seat. Many fire departments are certified in car seat installation and can help if you are unsure if it’s installed correctly.

After your purchase, make sure you register the car seat so you can receive any recalls or safety notices. By following these simple steps and being a safe driver, you can keep your child safe while in the car.

 

*Information for this article was gathered from:
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families.aspx
https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats

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