Car Seat Safety Tips
Just a few generations ago, child safety restraints were practically unheard of. Babies sometimes rode in lightweight cloth containers—similar in style to a bucket swing—but that was just to keep them in one place.
It wasn’t until the 1970s that many drivers began to use something similar to what we’d think of today as a car seat. By the mid-’80s, laws began requiring that young kids be buckled up securely. Thankfully, since then, car seat use is up and crash deaths in kids 13 and younger are down.
It’s now easy to find a car seat or booster at any store selling baby gear. Today’s child safety restraints are subject to testing, and the LATCH system, standard in most cars since the mid-’90s, makes them easier to put in. Still, it’s all too easy to install your seat incorrectly or not choose the right seat for your child’s size. We’ve pulled together some car seat safety tips to help you keep your most precious cargo safe.
Buy your seat before the baby comes
Hospitals will require that you have a car seat before your baby can go home. It’s up to you whether you decide to buy an infant seat or a convertible seat. Both can be safe options for your child, but many parents and caregivers enjoy the convenience of the infant seat, which can be removed and used as a carrier. Second-hand and consignment shops often do not accept used car seats. If you’re considering a used seat, make sure it has not been involved in an accident (even a fender-bender). Also check to see if it’s expired or has been recalled. Fortunately, plenty of quality seats are available new for reasonable prices.
Keep your infant’s airways safe
No matter which type of seat you choose, you’ll want to make sure it’s installed at the correct level in your vehicle. Check your seat’s user manual to find out how to do this. A seat that’s not at the proper incline could make it hard for your baby to breathe—especially one who is too young to hold up his or her head.
Keep your child rear facing well into the toddler years
If you choose an infant seat, you’ll likely need to upgrade to a larger convertible car seat around your child’s first birthday. Convertible car seats can be installed facing forward or backward, but until your child meets the model’s height and weight guidelines (usually around ages 2 to 3), you’ll want to stay rear facing. That’s because even though your child has grown tremendously from his or her infant days, the impact of a crash can still be devastating to a developing spine.
Stick with a booster seat
After your child outgrows his or her car seat, it’s time for a booster seat. Without one, your vehicle’s seat belt straps will not be positioned correctly. Kids also need to stay in booster seats longer than you might expect. Children should be at least 4’ 9’’ before switching to a regular seat belt. Even then, keep them in the back until age 13.
Get checked out
Whether you have a new baby, a preschooler or an older child, a car seat inspection is a good way to double-check yourself. Georgia Highway Safety maintains a list of car seat safety check locations in your county. Technicians help make sure the seat is in good condition and not under recall. They’ll also make sure it’s properly positioned and sized for your child.
Car seats are lifesavers. Take the time to make sure yours is installed correctly. And, remember, any vehicle your child rides in should have the proper child safety restraint, including the cars of grandparents or babysitters.
Macon Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you need a car accident lawyer. The Macon personal injury attorneys at Buzzell, Welsh & Hill will help ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation today.