Keeping your little one safe from all harm is one of the most pressing and stressful concerns any parent has to deal with. In fact, your number one priority will most probably always be about baby safety. And when it comes to traveling with your baby, there’s nothing that will keep him safer in your car than a baby car seat.
Due to the invention of the baby car seat, thousands of children’s lives have been saved from car accidents. Thus, every state has made the use of this car accessory mandatory. And since becoming a parent, you no doubt have no qualms about following this mandate as it ensures your baby’s safety. However, you might find yourself overwhelmed by the choices available to you. And, unfortunately, you can’t simply just go buy something willy-nilly. The car seat you buy should not only perfectly suit your baby’s needs but also your lifestyle. To help you make the right decision, we listed everything parents need to know from choosing to using the right baby car seat for your child.
Three Main Categories of Baby Car Seats:
• Rear-Facing Baby Car Seat
This is the kind of baby car seat suited for infants and toddlers. According to most provincial laws and manufacturer’s guidelines, parents should use this baby car seat for children ages 0 months to 1 year. The weight of the child is also an important factor in choosing this type. The baby must weigh at least 20 to 22 pounds. Since small babies are susceptible to head, neck, and spine injury when faced with a collision or a sudden stop, rear-facing baby car seats prevent those things from happening.
Installing a rear-facing baby car seat:
The center of your vehicle’s back seat is the safest position to install your baby car seat. Some vehicles have the Universal Anchorage System (UAS). These are connectors found in the center of the back seat. However, if your car does not have such a system, seatbelts will do. Just make sure to use a locking clip. To ensure that you made a secure installation, press your knee on the seat when you tighten the seatbelt. The seat should stay in place firmly and secured. Finally, the baby car seat should be at a 45-degree angle. Keep in mind that the slot for the harness straps should be at or even below your baby’s shoulders.
• Forward-facing baby car seat
Once the child has outgrown his rear-facing baby car seat – he is 12 months old or beyond, weighs about 22 pounds, and can walk independently – parents can switch to a forward-facing baby car seat. This has a five-point harness system that attaches the shoulders, hips, and crotch. In case of a crash or a sudden stop, the harness dispenses the forces across the strongest parts of the child’s body.
Installing a forward-facing baby car seat:
Keep in mind that the middle of the back seat is always the safest place to install a baby car seat. Now, just like the rear-facing car seat, it should be attached with the UAS. If the latter is unavailable, use the seatbelts but make sure to use a locking clip with it.
Forward-facing baby car seats are made with a tether strap. This lessens the movement of the seat in case of a collision or a sudden stop. Attached the tether strap at the top of the car seat and make sure that it is firmly anchored to the vehicle. See to it that the harness straps’ slot is at or above the child’s shoulders.
• Booster seats
This car seat is for kids who are about eight years of age or those with a height of four feet nine inches and weigh about 18kg. They may be quite grown up compared to babies but they are not yet ready to use adult seatbelts. As the word booster implies, this kind of car seat boosts the seat up so that the kid can be on the same level as the car’s seat belts. Just like those previously discussed, booster seats ensure the child’s safety if ever the car comes to a sudden stop or crashes.
Installing booster seats:
Unlike the previous baby car seats, booster seats can also be placed on the passenger or driver side of the back seat. In addition, boosters are not directly anchored to the vehicle’s UAS or seat belt. Instead, the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belts secure both the child and the booster. Always ensure the seat is firmly secured.
Baby safety is definitely an issue no parent scoffs at. By learning all you can about the different types of car seats, you can ensure that whichever type you choose will be more than enough to suit your baby’s needs as well as your own.