Standard car seats and seatbelts are designed to fit adults, making child car seats crucial for providing the appropriate protection and comfort to babies and young children. However, child car seats must be installed and used properly in order to provide the maximum amount of safety while on the road.
All child car seats come with detailed instructions, which should be carefully read before installation. If you need additional help, many baby supply stores and firehouses train their employees on the proper use of child car seats and are more than happy to share that knowledge with parents. Whether you need additional assistance or not, use the following tips to help you get started:
- Install child car seats in the backseat.
- Infants should face the rear of the car and the seat should be reclined at a 45-degree angle. Toddlers’ seats can face forward and sit upright.
- Harnesses should be strapped with a snug fit, free of twists. Dress your child in clothing that allows the safety straps to buckle between the legs.
- Utilize the top tether straps to prevent the seat from being thrown forward in an accident.
- Child car seats are measured using your child’s height and weight. Check your child for these sizing requirements every six months and purchase new car seats as your child grows.
For optimal safety, do not use a child car seat that is older than six years old, as older models may not meet current safety standards. Discard a car seat after an accident, even if it doesn’t appear to be damaged, or if there are visible cracks and/or missing parts. Always keep track of the label that notes the model number and date of manufacture in case a recall is announced.
Young child are especially susceptible to injury in the event of a car crash since their small bodies are still developing. The use of a correctly sized child car seat protects them during car rides until they grow big enough to use a standard seatbelt.