Thousands of young children are injured or even killed in car accidents each year. Car seats can help protect children in the event of an accident. There is a wide range of car seats available, so it can be overwhelming to find the right one for your child.
The following information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) can help you choose an appropriate car seat.
Infants and Toddlers
Babies and small children should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the highest weight/height allowed by the car seat manufacturer. You can use a rear-facing only car seat or a rear-facing convertible that can later be used as a forward-facing car seat.
Toddlers and Preschoolers
Children who have surpassed the rear-facing height/weight limit should use a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as they can, again up to the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer.
School-aged kids who exceed the forward-facing limit for their car seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly. This is typically when they reach 4 feet 9 inches in height, often sometime between 8-12 years of age.
When the vehicle seat belt fits correctly, children should always use lap and shoulder seat belts for the best protection. Children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat of the vehicle.
Car Seat Installation
Car seats can be installed with the vehicle’s seat belt or the LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) system. Autos with the LATCH system will have lower anchors located in the back seat where the seat cushions meet. Tether anchors are found behind the seat or on the back of the seat, ceiling, or floor. Most passenger vehicles manufactured after September 2002 are equipped to use LATCH.
If you use the seat belt to install the car seat, you need to make sure it locks to hold the seat tightly.
No car seat is the “best.” Proper car seat size, correct installation, good fit in your automobile, and proper use are the most important factors. Avoid using old car seats, seats with visible cracks, and seats that don’t have a label with the date of manufacture and model number.
Be sure to read and follow the instructions for using the car seat. Send in the registration card that comes with the car seat so you will be notified in case of a recall.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to an automobile accident, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.