In years past, parents would drive holding their infant in their laps and kids would jump around in the back seat, unrestrained. Many mothers talk about the years gone by when they would actually change their infant’s diaper while sitting at a stop light; some were daring enough to change the diaper while driving! Today, this action would be utterly impossible because our little ones are restrained in car seats, for good reason.
The car seat is used to protect an individual of small stature by holding him in place, should there be a collision. This seat is equipped with a safety harness and is secured to the vehicle’s seat with the existing seat belt or latch system.
In the U.S., car seats for children up to 24 months are mandatory. Never place a rear facing infant safety seat in front of a vehicle’s active airbag. If this air bag deploys, it could cause severe head injuries or even death to the little one.
Car Seats Expire
Many parents are unaware that there are expiration dates on car seats. The majority of the car seat’s expiration dates are visible on the seat. It is not wise to purchase a used car seat if you are unaware of the seats entire history. Never continue to use a car seat after it has been used in a collision.
The Carrycot/Bucket Seat Restraint System
Car restraint systems for infants up to 12 months are sometimes called carrycots or bucket seats. This system allows for easy movement in an out of the vehicle because it has handles.
The weight recommendations for this type of infant carrier usually range from 5 to 20 pounds. These rear facing seats are considered the safest. In the United States, children are required to remain in this rear facing position until they are one year old or no less than twenty pounds.
Convertible Seats Restraint System
A convertible seat is a fantastic option because it can be used for a very long time. Many of the convertible seats transition from the rear facing to the forward facing position. Some even have the ability to become the child’s booster seat. Most of the convertible seats permit for children from 5 to 35 pounds to remain in the rear facing position.
Some feel that the convertible seats are not the best choice for a newborn, because of the location of the restraints on the seat. Some seats do not offer low bottom harness slots. This causes the harness to be above the shoulders of most newborns, which is not ideal. Therefore, if you are interested in using this system from birth, just be sure to purchase a system that offers the low bottom harness slots.
Permanent Car Seat System
These car seats are recommended to be used for children whose weight ranges from 20 to 40 pounds. This weight generally coincides with children aged 9 months to 4 years. Older children can sometimes use this seat as well.
Car Seat Safety Saves Lives
Studies have shown that proper car seat usage decreased the likelihood of a fatality by 71% for infants less than one year and 54% for toddlers from 1 to 4 years. These statistics reinforce why all parents need to take their child’s car seat usage seriously.