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Baby Car Seat Safety

The importance of keeping your child safe is a concern that should never be ignored. When traveling in the car there are precautions that should be taken other than careful driving. If purchasing a car seat, you need to make sure you are getting exactly what you need because there are several different styles of car seats that serve varying purposes. Once you purchase your car seat there are other important things you need to know to ensure the wellbeing of your little one.  Make sure you follow these tips in order to keep your baby snug and safe.

The first tip is that you need to know what you are getting for your money. There are three typical types of car seats that you can purchase: the rear-facing, the convertible, and the 3 in 1. Each seat has different perks, but which one is right for you?

The rear facing child seats are typically used for infants until they are 22-35 pounds. These seats are usually removable, with a base securely clipped into car while the actual seat can be removed as necessary. Most also have carrying handles to make traveling easier. Some models include strollers that go with them so the seat is even more mobile. You can also purchase additional bases to be used in other cars, bypassing the need to purchase several different complete car seats.

Convertible seats can start out as rear facing and at the right time be changed to forward facing. They tend to be bulkier than most infant seats, and unlike typical rear-facing seats they are not removable. The perks of these is that they can be used for longer, because weight limitation tends to be higher. Since convertible car seats are bulkier, it is important to make sure the seat fits snuggly no matter what position they are in. At times they can be harder to fit in smaller cars, so factor the style of car you drive into your decision making.

The final seat option is the 3 in 1. The biggest appeal of these seats is that they can be used for the longest amount of time, making sure parents get their money’s worth. They are bigger so they can be used for heavier children and can be used as a rear-facing, forward-facing, or as a belt-positioning booster.  

Now that you know the different types of car seats offered there are other tips that should be followed in order to keep your child safe. After purchasing your car seat it is important to make sure that it fits snuggly into the seat. As I mentioned earlier, some of the bulkier seats have a hard time fitting in certain models of cars. When purchasing the seat it is not only important to look at the safety of the seat, but also make sure it can be used to its full potential while in your vehicle. Make sure when buckling it in that it doesn’t move more than a few centimeters, if that. You want it to stay stable and not jerk around while you are in the car. It is very important to make sure that the seat is not too big and not too small for your child. When installing your car seat you should also make sure that it is angled properly. You don’t want an odd angle that could cause discomfort for your infant.

One long standing belief is that once your child is a year old and weighs at least 22lbs, you can change them to a forward facing position, however new studies question that belief. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics it is wiser to wait until your child’s second birthday before facing them towards the front. Crash test results prove that toddlers are much safer when riding rear-facing. They should wait until they have outgrown their infant seat completely before facing forward, so although it’s understandable wanting to see your little one’s smiling face in your rearview, it is best to wait until you are out of the car. 

Another important fact about car seats is that they should always remain in the back seat. While many may think that is common sense it is important to bare that in mind. They should never be put in the passenger’s seat, particularly one with an airbag. This of course is not only important for infants in car seats but all children under the age of twelve and under a certain height and weight. Airbags, while used for protection, are very dangerous for children.  

Now that you have a car seat of your liking and it is safely placed in the back seat, it is necessary to make sure that your child is buckled in securely. When buckling your child in, the chest clip needs to be level with his armpit and the clip should be right on his chest. The straps should always remain over your child’s shoulder. As your child grows it is important to keep adjusting the seat belt so it remains as safe and comfortable as possible. While they should not be digging into your child you should not be able to pinch extra slack in the strap. Being able to slip a single finger under the strap is enough space. These straps will ensure the safety of your child should an accident occur. Along with the comfort of the seat it is a good idea to always keep your child covered. Keeping a baby blanket on hand to make sure your little one is comfortable during car rides can make trips a lot easier. The more comfortable they are the less likely you will have a cranky baby on your hands.

As time goes on there is a good chance that your infant may outgrow their car seat by height before weight. It is important to always pay attention to how your baby fits in their seat. Make sure your infants head is more than one inch below the top of the car seat shell. With these tips in mind you can be rest assured that your little one will be safe and sound while in the car.

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