Just getting child car safety seats does not ensure their complete safety. You have to make sure that the seats are used in the right way too. The first thing to see is whether the seats are compliant with the “child car seat safety ratings.” According to overall child car seat safety ratings, there are specific seats for children of particular ages and heights. You have to ensure that the seats you are choosing to adhere to these guidelines. You can find out these guidelines from the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. That also means you will not be able to use the same seat throughout your child’s growth.
Here are six points that you should know when buying child car safety seats:
- Consider the age of the child when you are buying the car seat. If your child is an infant under one year of age, then a rear-facing seat will be the best option. You could also purchase a convertible car seat and then adjust it to face the rear side. If your child is between 1 to 4 years of age, weighs between 20 to 40 pounds, then invest in a front-facing car seat with shoulder straps. For older kids, up to 8 years of age, you will need a high-back seat with a waist belt for added safety.
- Placing rear-facing child car safety seats on front seats with a safety airbag attached will have disastrous consequences if the airbag were to blow up. Hence, it would help if you placed all rear-facing child car safety seats on the rear seats.
- According to the guidelines in the manufacturer’s manual, assume yourself several times that the belts are adequately strapped on the child. You must try pulling and tugging at the belt to see whether they can come off quickly. At the same time, the straps must not be too tight on the baby. Fasten the belts to be firm, not packed.
- You must make sure that you do not place any blanket beneath the baby when positioning them in the car seat. Most child safety car seats will secure in the best way if the children are placed directly on the seat bed. The seat bed is soft as it is, so you will not need a blanket. Also, refrain from placing a blanket on the baby. If you want to do that, first strap the child and then put the blanket over the straps.
- As far as possible, do not buy secondhand child safety car seats. One reason for that is the seat may have been used on a different sized child, and therefore the straps might have adjusted themselves to the size of that child. That beats the whole point of child car seat safety. Another reason is that the seat might have fallen or been damaged somehow, due to which the straps might become loose.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a responsible body for child car seat safety. When buying your seat, make sure that the NHTSA has not, for some reason or another, recalled the particular type of seat. You can reach NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236