All parents worry, especially about the health and well-being of their children. It is only natural. We are particularly careful to do everything we can to protect them from accidents. A part of this safety practice is using the proper infant and toddler car seats and boosters. That said, you’d be surprised at how many are unaware of some of the basic rules for child safety in the car.
First, there are some things to consider when shopping for this important item. Let’s take a look at a few tips to help your child be as safe as possible whenever in a vehicle.
Make Sure it Meets Safety Standards
Believe it or not, all car seats are not made the same. Some are of higher quality and have added safety features that other models do not. Of course, these will cost more but consider it as an investment in your child’s safety. In most countries, manufacturers have to follow a set of standards but it is on you to know what you’re looking for. Do your research and make a choice based on solid information.
It is not enough to simply buy them from a reputable retailer either. Unfortunately, few retailers have the time or resources to physically inspect all of the products that they stock. As you can see from this newspaper article, at one stage, even Amazon UK ended up inadvertently stocking sub-standard car seats. Of course, as soon as they realized the problem, they ensured they were withdrawn.
Make Sure it’s Suitable for Your Car
Most car seats are built to fit in the majority of vehicles. However, never assume that this is the case. It might fit all vehicles, but is it convenient and easy to install and take out? Before buying, check that your chosen model is a good match. The best manufacturers maintain an up to date list that you can use to do this. If you are in any doubt at all, use their customer helpline to double-check.
Make Sure it Fits Your Child
One of the most common mistakes parents make with a car seat is its fit for the child. If it’s too big or too small, your child’s safety could be at risk. They are meant to fit snug but not to the point of being invasive or uncomfortable. Consider the child’s age, weight, and height, as well as how active the child is in the car. Do also be prepared to need a different car seat once the child gets older.
Check Local Laws for Restrictions and Proper Installation
Most countries have laws that govern the type of car seat that must be used. They also stipulate where and how your children can sit at the various stages of their development. There are weight and height restrictions, as well as age in some areas. Within the US, there are varying laws from state to state. There are actually classes in some areas that teach new parents how to purchase a quality car seat and install it properly.
Never Buy a Used Car Seat
Though second-hand stores are not permitted to sell used car seats, that doesn’t stop individuals from passing them on to family and friends. This might be OK if you know the seat’s history and trust its owner. I’ve seen car seats at garage sales and online. The problem with this is that you don’t know if it’s been in an accident, been damaged, or misused. This posts too many questions for my comfort.
Use It All the Time (No Exceptions!)
I know this sounds like a “duh” statement, but the statistics are brutally honest. Research shows that one of the leading causes of death for children age 3-14 in the United States was from car crashes. Even more alarming, in 2017, a whopping 37% of children who died weren’t even restrained at all. Yeah, I’m still shaking my head from that one.
So, if you don’t want something horrible to happen and to watch your child suffer unnecessarily, do the right thing and restrain him/her!!!! Also, double-check that the car seat is strapped in properly before each use. This is especially important if you transfer the seat between two vehicles frequently. Don’t assume anything.
Should you have an accident, make sure to do everything you can to navigate it well. You want to have contacts on hand for your insurance company, loved ones, your doctor, and even an attorney like Charleston personal injury lawyer. There is nothing more important than the safety of our children. Buying and using a car seat is not to be taken lightly, as it could mean the difference between life and death.