Car seats for your children are becoming more and more of a discussable issue. Even twenty years ago, the technology for keeping your child safe in the car was not even close to what we have today. Car seats used to be bulky, plastic, and overall uncomfortable for the child. That is no longer the case. But with the improved technology and wider array of possible choices for a car seat, people are getting more and more confused about what type of car seat they need for their vehicle.
The Purpose of a Good Car Seat
The obvious purpose of a good car seat is to be safe for a child in case of an accident. Car seats are designed for improved safety for the children in the car. Most have a headrest that protects and keeps their head and neck in a safe position. This can help save your child’s life in the event of an accident. Another purpose for a car seat is for the transportation of the child. Most infant car seats snap in and out of a base in the car. This makes it super convenient to transport your baby in and out of the car. And for colder months, you can tuck your baby in the seat with a warm blanket and cover and keep your newborn super warm.
Another purpose of a good car seat is to keep your child restrained. A child that is moving around in the back seat or throwing a fit can cause a major disturbance. This can, in turn, cause problems for the person attempting to drive. Car seats can help restrain a child, so even if they are throwing a fit or attempting to move around, they are not causing a major distraction that could cause a car accident.
Check out this helpful article from the government about car seats and booster seats.
The newborn or infant seat is the very first car seat that you will need for your new baby. This is the seat with the handle and clips that make it clip into a base in your car. Most newborn seats can also be used with a regular seat belt. This seat is small but perfectly shaped to keep your newborns head at the right angle for optimal breathing. These seats are also typically able to snap into a stroller or other transportation device.
The Convertible Car Seat
For most kids, this is the last car seat that is needed. The convertible car seat is the one that buckles into your back seat and provides a five-point harness for your baby. There is a large range of these types of car seats that can typically range from five pounds to forty or fifty. Most brands of convertible car seats also offer an option of converting from newborn to mid-size and even booster seats. They are great for a parent who is looking for a long term option for their child.
Although most convertible car seats also turn into booster seats, booster seats are also available for just purchasing for your older child. Booster seats are typically just sat on the seat, then the child buckles in with the seat belt. The point of a booster seat is to help put the seat belt at the correct placement on the child. Booster seats are the least expensive of the car seats and are sometimes optional.
How to Decide Which to Use
There is a lot of confusion surrounding the car seat world. How do you know which to use? How do you find information on your seat? What seat to start with? If you are looking for the cheap way out of the car seat situation, then consider just getting a convertible car seat. Most convertibles have the option of growing with your child, from five pounds to thirty or forty. This is a great option for those looking for the long term option. But eventually, they will grow out of the convertible seat but may still need a booster. The booster seat is the last step of the car seats. You will know it is time to move your child to a booster seat for many reasons.
It is very important to stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations. In the paperwork in your box with your new seat, read and see what the weight and height limit is for your child. Along with that, follow the installation and maintenance recommended by the manufacturer.
Size of Your Child
You will want to wait to move your child to a booster until they are large enough and heavy enough for a booster to be effective. Your child should be large enough that the seat belt is in the right place when they are sitting in the seat. Along with that, the child needs to be mature enough to sit in the seat.
Maturity of Your Child
Your child must be able to sit still and correctly in the seat. If your child does a lot of moving around when in the car seat, then it may be worth keeping them in the five-point harness longer. This can help ensure the safety of the seat. Children who move around a lot when in the car seat are harder to keep in the correct seat belt placement in a booster versus a convertible car seat. This is why if your child is not emotionally ready yet, then consider keeping them in a convertible seat.
Car seats are confusing and overwhelming. Be sure that you are reading your instructions correctly and using the car seat well. If you feel that you are not using your seat correctly and you are having trouble figuring it out, then contact a local agency to help you. Most firehouses and injury prevention resources have someone on staff that is specially trained in the car seat and child vehicle safety. They can help you get on the road to a safer car experience for your child.