Types Of Child Car Seats: Which One Is Suitable For Your Child?
Car seats are an essential child safety gear that any parent will have to purchase even before giving birth. Aside from keeping your baby safe and protected throughout the ride, hospitals also require it before you can bring your newborn home.
Also, every state in the US have laws that require your little one to be restrained properly during the ride until he is old enough to use your car’s own seat belt. Furthermore, the majority of the states now require kids to be in a booster seat until reaching a certain height or age.
Importance Of Using A Car Safety Seat
Every year, numerous children are either injured or killed in car crashes. In 2014 alone, around 167,000 young kids were hurt and over 1,000 of them died. In the US, the main cause of death for kids under 9 years old is injuries in a car crash. What’s behind this alarming statistic? Children not restrained properly.
You may think that these accidents are a result of high-speed fiery collisions, but according to statistics, 75% of car crashes occur on undivided highways or local roads. Also, 50% of accidents involving young children occur on streets with a 44mph speed limit or even less.
Using a car seat properly can help keep your child safe, and can prevent his death in case of an accident. If you’re expecting, you should give yourself ample time to learn how to install your infant car seat properly in your vehicle before your precious angel is born so that his ride home from the hospital is safe and secure. It is recommended to start shopping for a safety seat when you’re about six to eight months along to give you enough time to find the best car seat for your child.
Choosing The Right Car Seat
Child safety seats like the Graco® car seat line are meant to keep your baby protected during transport. The developmental needs, weight, age, and height of your baby will be the deciding factor on which type you need to buy. You also need to consider factors such as longevity and ease of use and installation.
It is vital to choose a seat suitable for the weight and age of your child and fit your vehicle well. Always check the manual of your car and car seat to ensure correct installation and usage.
Car seats come in three basic types:
- Infant Car Seats
This type is specifically designed for infants and can only be used rear-facing. Their weight limit is usually around 22 to 35 pounds. You can use it from birth till your little one reaches the age of two or when he reaches the seat’s height or weight restrictions. At this point, you need to switch him to a bigger car seat.
You can only use infant car seats as a carrier. Most models can be strapped in a base that stays strapped in the safety seat or directly in your vehicle. If you have multiple vehicles, you have an option to purchase multiple bases
- Convertible Car Seats
These seats can function as rear-facing only for infants and toddlers and as forward-facing safety seat for older kids. You can use a convertible seat from birth until your baby outgrows the rear-facing position. A lot of new models available today are designed to accommodate children up to 40 pounds on the rear-face position and up to 70 pounds on the forward-facing mode.
However, keep in mind that according to the latest American Academy of Pediatrics or AAP guidelines, it is best to keep children rear-facing for as long as possible or until they reach the maximum weight and height restrictions of the seat, which is typically around 4 years old.
It is also recommended by the AAP that once you switch your child in the forward-facing, you should keep him in this position until he exceeds the limits of the seat which is typically around 60 pounds or more.
Although this type can save on your budget, you cannot use a convertible car seat as a carrier, and they’re not portable as well. They don’t come with bases, so moving them from one vehicle to the other may not be as easy. Also, they tend to be bulkier and a bit challenging to use if you have a smaller baby.
- Booster Seats
When your toddler outgrows his convertible seat, it’s time to switch him to a booster seat. This car seat type can only be used in the forward-facing position. Depending on the brand or model, it usually has a minimum weight requirement of 30 to 40 pounds. Your child can use it until he is old enough to use the seat belt of your vehicle.
The belt-positioning booster seat has a standard car shoulder and lap belts that will secure your older kid when he’s sitting on it. This seat also comes in a backless type which is okay to use as long as the seat of your vehicle can provide him with adequate head support. The height of your child will dictate which is the most comfortable one. If it’s possible, try the booster seat first before making any purchase. You could look here as well for the reviews and ratings of the best booster seats.