Car Seat Safety Guidelines
As parent’s, our primary role outside of loving our children, is to keep them safe as they grow up into incredible adults.
This week we have the first article about one of the most important pieces of safety equipment you will need for your child.
It’s critical to use a car seat with your baby starting when you leave the hospital after delivery.
Using a car seat based on your child’s age and size will be something you do until they are into their early teens.
Understanding the basic requirements for the type of car safety seat prior to birth will be important for you to start their life off safely.
Types of Car Safety Seats
Rear Facing Seats
Your little one will need a rear facing safety seat for about the first two years of their life.
There are typically three types of rear facing seats to choose from. Select the one that bests meets your circumstances.
Rear facing only seat
- Generally used for infants up to 22-35 lbs
- Small with handles to carry the seat
- Typically have a separate base that can remain installed in the car. The seat itself “locks” into the base.
- The seat should only be used in the car for traveling, not feeding or napping.
Convertible seats (used for rear facing)
- Seat starts as rear facing but can convert later to front facing when your child reaches the weight and/or height limits for the seat
- Designed to remain installed in the car at all times, does not have a separate base
- Have a 5-point harness that attaches at the shoulders, hips and between their legs.
- Higher weight & height limits than rear facing only seats
All-in-one seats (used rear facing)
- Rear and forward facing as well as booster seat
- Usually larger than other seats – be sure it will fit your car
- It’s flexibility allows your child to use it longer
Forward Facing Seats
When your toddler has outgrown the weight and heigth limits for their rear facing seat, it’s time to move them to a forward facing unit.
There are four styles of forward facing car seats.
- Safety seats that convert from rear to forward facing
- Includes the All-in-One styles
Combination seats with harness
- Seat with harness can be used for children who weigh 40-65 pounds
- Booster style seat without harness (using car seat belt) for children who weigh up to 100-120 pounds
- Some vehicles have built-in forward facing seats with varying weight/height limits
- Children should not use built in seats until they have reached the maximum limit on the rear facing convertible car seat.
- Be sure to read thoroughly your vehicle’s owners manual for how to use the integrated seat
- For use when a vehicle has only lap seat belts ( no shoulder belts)
- Can be used for children with certain special needs or those who weigh more than the allowed weight for car safety seats.
- Generally a top tether strap is required for the travel vest
- Children weighing 22 to 168 pounds
Be sure you do your research before you bring that sweet baby home. You’ll need to have the car seat installed and feel comfortable with how to use it before you go to the hospital for delivery.
Next week, we’ll share some tips around installation of the various styles of safety seats.