Safety is the number one concern for every parent. Many parents cover their house in child safety precautions like door, drawer, and cupboard locks, outlet covers and corner protectors. Much of our daily lives revolve around transportation and your child is often taken with you from place to place. Your car should be just as safe as your home and the best way to provide this safety is choosing from the best car seats available. There are different kinds of car seats for every stage of life your child goes through and as your child grows they will require different car seats. The best car seat is one that fits your vehicle, your budget, and your child.
All car seats sold in the United States must pass a federal crash test to be sold. However any car seat that is installed or assembled incorrectly can be damaging. It is important that you read all instructions after you purchase a car seat to make sure you are doing everything correctly. The best car seats are those that are designed to meet the needs of the child. Newborn car seats should include many buckles that keep their entire body secure and snug in the seat while allowing them to lay back and relax. Toddler car seats should be designed in the sitting position and allow the child’s upper body to move more freely. Many states have weight and age requirements that demand that even school age children must ride in car seats designed for them.
While there is no direct law stating what is required of car seats and what is not there are many recommendations. The best car seats will meet many, if not all of these recommendations.
Rear facing seats for infants: A child that weighs under 20 lbs or is under the age of 1 should always ride in a rear facing car seat. In case of an accident these car seats form a shell around the infant to prevent further damage. Children above the age and weight limit can be placed in forward facing car seats.
Booster seats: Children between 40-80 lbs should ride in booster seats so that the seat belt fits properly on their laps and shoulders.
The back seat is best: If your child is under 12 then their car seat should be designed to fit in the back seat. Most vehicles have airbags in the passenger seats, these can do more damage than good to children under the age of 12.
The rule of the inch: If you are able to move your car seat more than an inch without loosening it then it is not installed correctly or an unsafe choice.
Register your car seat with the manufacturer: Many times repairs or recalls take place. If your car seat is registered then you will be notified by the manufacturer as these needs arise.