Did you know that every 33 seconds, a child under the age of 13 is involved in a car accident in the US? Not only are crashes common, but over half of all car seats are not installed in cars correctly, putting car crashes as one of the leading causes of death for kids.
If you have a child who is young enough or small enough to still require a car seat or booster seat, you’ll want to read this article. We have 5 car seat safety tips to help keep your children safe.
1. Buy the Right Seat
There are different types of seats for different ages and sizes of children.
An infant seat is for babies from birth to a certain weight and height. Many infant seats are good until babies reach between 20 and 30lbs or their height reaches one inch below the top of the seat. Pay attention to your seat’s user manual and make sure you know when they will be too big for it.
A convertible seat is for babies from birth to children ages 4 or 5 (or sometimes longer depending on their size). A convertible seat can be forward or rear-facing, depending on baby’s age and size. The main difference between this and an infant seat is that an infant seat can be taken in and out of the car and locks into a base. A convertible seat stays in the car.
2. Don’t Turn the Seat Around Too Soon
It might be tempting to turn your child’s car seat around as soon as they turn 1, but recent advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests that you keep them rear-facing as long as possible.
As long as they are under the height and weight limits for your particular seat to be rear-facing, leave them this way. Rear-facing is much safer for kids.
3. Replace Your Car Seat After a Car Accident
You might be surprised to learn that if you were in a car accident (even if your child wasn’t in the car at the time), you should replace your car seat. The NHTSA recommends that if you were in a moderate or severe crash to replace all child safety seats. Your insurance company will typically pay for this replacement.
Depending on the cause of the crash, you may also want to consider using this service to receive any compensation that you are entitled to if you suffered injuries or damage as a result of the accident.
4. Pay Attention to the Expiration Date
Did you know that car seats and bases have an expiration date? Most seats expire 6 years from the date of manufacture. Typically, car seats will have a sticker on them that has their manufacture date as well as their expiration date. They expire for a number of reasons, including wear and tear, changing regulations, and the breakdown of the plastic that many are constructed of.
5. Have the Seat and Installation Checked by a Pro
Once you have your seat installed, have a professional car seat tech check it to make sure it is installed properly. They can also teach you how to properly strap your children in, emphasizing the placement of the chest buckle and how tight the straps should be.
Car Seat Safety Tips to Keep Your Children Safe
Now that you know a little more about car seat safety tips, it’s time to go and check your seats. Check the expiration dates, get out your user manual to make sure you are using the seat properly based only our child’s weight and height, and make sure they are installed correctly.
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