How to choose an infant car seat

A car seat can save your child’s life. Parents need to remember, however, that if the car seat they have chosen for their child is not appropriate for that child’s age or isn’t installed or used correctly, their child’s life could be at risk.

How do you know which car seat to buy? If you have looked at car seats, you have probably noticed there are a variety of brands, types, and sizes available to choose from. It is important that you pay close attention to the guidelines for child passenger safety created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Most hospitals have adopted the policy of refusing to release a newborn unless the parents have properly chosen and installed an infant car seat. As your child grows, you will notice that there are several types of child seats available based on the age and size of your child.

Infant seats are designed for newborn babies to use until they reach twenty pounds. Infant seats are convenient to use. They typically attach to a base. You can remove the seat from the base and use it as an infant carrier. Infant car seats normally have a five-point harness system, instead of the older three-point harness.

This type of car seat should also have a front harness adjuster. Your child should fit snugly in her car seat. Your baby will not use this type of seat for very long, however. Once she has reached twenty pounds, she will need to use a larger seat.

Some parents prefer to start off with a convertible car seat for their children. These seats can be used for children typically until they reach forty pounds. Children should be kept in a rear-facing position until they reach twenty pounds and are at least one year old.

Once a child reaches twenty pounds and is at least one year, her convertible car seat can be placed facing forward. However, many car seats are now manufactured to keep children rear-facing until they are eighteen to twenty-four months old.

Convertible car seats should also have a five point harness system. The key to keeping your child as safe as possible is to be sure the harness fits snugly. Some car seats use a tray shield. This tray takes the place of two points on a harness; however, if a child wears glasses, the glasses may break on impact with the tray.

Some parents prefer to buy a combo seat once their child has outgrown his infant car seat. A combo seat protects forward-facing children who weigh from twenty to forty pounds and are at least one year old. The seat can then be converted to a high-back booster seat for children who weigh between thirty and eighty pounds.

Cars that are 1999 models or newer should have the LATCH system. LATCH stands for lower anchors and tethers for children. The LATCH system is a part of your car’s seat that allows you to fasten the clips on the car seat to the anchors of your car, instead of using a seat belt to attach the seat.

The car seat that you choose for your child should fit your child and your car, and it should be easy for you to use. You should also use caution when purchasing a used child seat. Car seats that are older than five years should not be used because their parts may have become significantly weakened causing a greater risk of injury to the child.

A car seat can only provide your child with so much protection. You must do your part to see that your child is buckled snugly and the seat is installed correctly.

You should place your child in a car seat every time you enter the car. Don’t mistakenly assume that your child will be fine if you are only going a mile or so down the road. Accidents can happen in a matter of seconds. Choosing and using the right car seat could save your child’s life.

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