What brand? What type? Which way? With so many rules and car seats on the market, it’s no wonder many parents feel overwhelmed. The type of seat you choose for your child depends on several things, including your child’s size, age, seat type and the type of vehicle you drive…just to name a few.
It is very easy to become confused about what is safest for your child when you have best practice recommendations coming from American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), State Law, Pediatrician Advice, Child Passenger Safety Technicians and all the information the Worldwide Web has to offer.
AAP and NHTSA have released new best practice car seat recommendations for children. These recommendations are designed to better protect your children while traveling in a vehicle. The little ones already grow too fast, and so many parents are eager to turn their children around at 1 year and 20 lbs. and move them into the next restraint type. Before you jump the gun… consider your child’s safety and take a look at the new car seat recommendations for children.
- All infants and toddlers should ride in a Rear-Facing Child Safety Seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer.
- All children 2 years or older, or those younger than 2 years who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their car seat, should use a Forward-Facing Child Safety Seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer.
- All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their car seat should use a Belt-Positioning Booster Seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
- When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use Lap and Shoulder Seat Belts for optimal protection.
- All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the Rear Seats of vehicles for optimal protection.
A rear-facing child safety seat provides better support to the head, neck and spine of infants and toddlers in a crash, because it distributes the force of the collision evenly over the entire body. For older/larger children, a forward-facing seat with a full harness is safer than a booster seat. Keeping your child in a booster seat will help give them a safe boost! When a child is not tall enough, a seat belt will sit inappropriately on the abdomen and neck possibly causing severe injuries. The injuries could damage the internal organs and cause paralysis by making contact with the spinal cord instead of the strong bones of the hips and shoulders.
There is lots to know when it comes to child passenger safety. Your safest bet is to visit a Nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician to receive the most up-to-date education on how to properly install your child’s safety seat. Many state laws are in direct opposition with best practice recommendations; making car seat decisions very difficult for parents. Lexlee’s Kids has a car seat fitting station that is open to the public for free child safety seat inspections. Make your appointment TODAY!
Join hands with Lexlee’s Kids in caring for your kids’ safety. If you have any questions or comments about car seat safety, feel free to post them here or contact Lexlee’s Kids at 225.761.7272 or www.lexleeskids.org.