Getting into an accident with your child in the back seat and having to take a trip to the emergency room is one of every parent’s worst nightmares. If you are a expecting a new addition to your family and are getting prepared to go out and purchase your first child seat then it is important to understand the basics. Car seats save lives, but using the right seat for your child’s height and weight and using it properly is one of the most vital decisions that you are going to make at this point. First, let’s look at what kind of safety seats are available.
We decided to start with this one first because too many parents are not aware of just how crucial using one of these seats is to the health of your child. This is often the last seat you will buy before your little one is tall enough to use a regular seat belt. However, some folks skip this step and transition straight from a convertible seat to a seat belt. This can be dangerous if your child is not the right size as the straps of the belt may not sit in the right position. In the event of a collision this can cause serious injury. So while you may be searching for a child seat for a newborn now, it is a good idea to keep in the back of your mind the importance of getting a booster seat when the time comes.
Seats For Infants
Newborns are delicate and fragile creatures. Their necks are not fully strong enough to support the weight of their heads. Infant seats are designed to offer full support to this area to prevent injury even with minor crashes. Some parents like to have a dedicated infant seat for a couple of reasons. First, they are lighter weight than a convertible seat. They can be moved easily between different cars and they come with carry handles for added convenience. Secondly, a larger number of infant seats are compatible with a variety of different strollers. The seat can simply connect and lock into the stroller and your child will not have to be removed from the seat for this to occur. If you plan on using a stroller often this may be a great way to save some strain on your back as well as save you some time.
The downside to getting an infant car seat is that they are made for small children. That means that your child will quickly outgrow the seat (usually between 1 and 2 years) and you will have to purchase a new convertible seat. If money is tight then you may be better off just getting a convertible child seat from the start as these can also accommodate infants as small as 5 lbs.
For smaller kids it is always advised that you place the seat facing the rear for the proper protection. Not only will this help shield them from flying debris and glass, but it is also important from the standpoint of reducing neck strain should something awful happen out on the road.
Convertible Safety Seats
These are probably the most popular kind of child seat being used today. They have a much longer lifespan so you are not going to have to buy multiple seats every few years. Some convertible seats are also capable of being used as a booster seat and can provide protection for your child all the way up until they are large enough to safely use your vehicle’s seat belt. Economically speaking, this makes the most sense especially considering just how expensive it can be to raise children.
These seats get their name because they can be switched around and adjusted depending on the height and weight of its passenger. For infants special inserts or typically used to provide the needed head and neck support. The seat is also fasten in a rear facing direction. As your kid grows and becomes too big for rear-facing mode, the seat can be turned to face forward. Different strap positions in the base make sure the seat is securely fastened each.
They also come with a safety harness with straps that can also be easily adjusted to fit your child properly. Their popularity also offers parents a wider selection no matter their budget as today’s convertible car seat reviews reveal. It is also good to remember that even inexpensive child seats can provide more than adequate protection as all seats must meet minimum safety standards. Just because you may not be able to afford a high end convertible car seat does not mean you have to worry that you are compromising your child’s well being.
One of the drawbacks of using this type of seat is going to be its weight. These are bigger and heavier than infant seats so moving them from car to car is going to present more of a challenge. They also are not compatible with any type of stroller. They are typically going to be a little more expensive than a dedicated seat for newborns as well. Keep in mind however, that since you can use a convertible seat for longer and only have to buy one of them, it is going to save you money over time.
Read The Manual
Once you have your seat and are ready to install it is extremely vital that you install it correctly. Make sure to read the manual front to back. Most manufacturers also have instructional videos online that you can follow to ensure that you know what you are doing. There are also local technicians that may be in your area to inspect how your seat is installed. Some local fire stations may also help inspect your seat for you. If the seat is not secured properly and the straps of the harness do not lay in the correct positions while your child is in the seat then this may pose its own risk that can cause harm in case of an accident.
With a little research, practice, and even a second opinion, you should be able to ride down the road with the peace of mind of knowing that your children are as protected as they can be in the back seat.