The task of choosing a car seat can be a daunting one for parents with children and babies. And even if you’re confident you’ve got the best car seat money can buy, there are several other factors that affect a child’s overall safety while riding in a car seat.
To ensure you’re providing the best protection for your child, consider the following precautions:
Getting a good fit
An estimated 75 percent of car seats are not installed properly, which reduces their effectiveness in preventing injury. Always carefully follow manufacturer’s instructions for installing a car seat.
Pay attention to the angle at which the seat should be installed. And make sure your child’s car seat fits correctly; a seat that’s too loose will not adequately protect your child.
You’ll likely go through a few different car seats as your child grows. Always be aware of the dimensional and weight limitations for the car seat you’re currently using so you can transition your child into the appropriate car seat when the time comes.
Car seats from different manufacturers will not necessarily have the same specifications, so if you’re buying a new seat for your growing toddler, don’t assume you know how to install it.
Remember: car seats are not just for infants. Until your child is 8 years old or 4’9″, she should be riding in a car seat or booster seat.
Wear and tear
It’s tempting to save money by purchasing a second-hand car seat, but doing so can be potentially dangerous. When you buy a used car seat, you may not be able to discern its make or model, which means you can’t determine if it’s ever been recalled or has defective parts.
If you’re getting a hand-me-down car seat from a trusted friend or family member, ask for the manufacturer’s instructions that came with it so you can check online for any recall information for that specific make and model.
Enjoy the ride
A great many memorable moments occur between parents and children while driving around in the car. Parents sing songs to soothe fussy babies, families play travel games like “I Spy,” and kids learn a lot about the world around them, gazing out the window. Once you’re confident that your child is safe and secure in your car, you can be more at-ease while driving, and better able to enjoy the time you spend with your child.