Did you know that until 1962, baby car seats were only meant to keep the child at a certain height so that parents could see them while driving? Child safety was not a top priority until then. Fortunately, today the market offers a large variety of baby car seats that provide the security measures that your child needs during vehicle transportation.
These measures are imposed through child safety laws from every country, which also state the fact that child protection during transportation is vital. Moreover, guidance is provided for those in need to inform themselves on the proper procedures of installing a baby car seat in their cars, and buckling their children so that the baby car seat can serve its purpose.
Baby car seats also referred to as child safety seats, and are specially designed for the protection of infants in case of collision, if installed properly. In other words, baby car seats represent an important part of your child’s safety, but installing it correctly might just be the key point in keeping your child safe in case of an accident.
That is why, when purchasing a baby car seat, try to find the one that is suitable for you and your baby and that is also easy to install. For more information about the ease of use of a baby car seat and the level of safety that it provides for your child, you can visit the NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) database.
What To Look For When Purchasing A Baby Car Seat
Apart from the ease of use of a baby car seat, other factors need to be taken into account before purchasing one. It is also important to pay attention to the compatibility of the baby car seat with your car (there are car seats that are too bulky for small cars) and to purchase a car seat that is appropriate for your child’s weight and height.
Generally, baby car seats come in different sizes and colors, depending on the brand that you choose. The price varies from approximately 60 $ to 250 $. However, despite the brand, every baby car seat must dispose of several essential parts like:
- a base that you can install in your car and that doesn’t require to be taken off if you remove the car seat;
- a five-point harness that is perfect to secure your baby’s shoulders, thighs, and the lower part of the body thanks to the strap that can be adjusted between the baby’s legs;
- a LATCH system that increases the level of safety of the baby car seat, for it provides an easier installation of the car seat in the car and it does not require the use of seat belts, thanks to the lower anchors and top tether (the majority of cars made after September 1, 2002, are compatible with this system).
Other important things that a baby car seat needs to be perfect are: attach ability to a stroller, easy adjustments (the harness should have harness heights for your growing baby), at least a side impact protection (which is usually provided by energy-absorbing foam) and a cover that can be taken off for easy cleaning purposes.
General Recommendation for Baby Car Seats
The safest baby car seats for your child are the rear-facing car seats. These are placed in the back seat only and are recommended for babies up to 2 years old or until they reach the weight or height that a baby car seat can support. It is not recommended to put your child facing the front after 12 months, for the baby is still fragile and its neck cannot provide the necessary support for the head.
As most of the baby car seats are inappropriately installed, you must read carefully the manual that comes with the car seat and, if you still find yourself in difficulty, feel free to watch the videos about how to correctly install a baby car seat that can be found all over the Internet. You can also find forums, where parents advise those in need.
Other general recommendations regarding baby car seats include:
- the baby car seat must be tightened correctly so that it doesn’t joggle in the car;
- if your car is not compatible with the LATCH system and you have to use the seatbelts to restrain the seat, check if the seatbelt requires special locking clips;
- the distance between the head of the child and the top of the safety seat should be at least 2 inches;
- the harness straps of the baby car seat must be tight correctly;
- the recline angle should be no more than 45 degrees;
- never use a second-hand baby car seat (unless you know for sure it was not involved in an accident and it has all the parts) or one that is 6 years old.
The best way to keep your baby secure when traveling by car is to purchase the right baby car seat, that provides a secure system and also allows you to drive knowing that your child is protected. In addition to this, you should be certain that the seat is correctly installed and that your baby is buckled properly, as the baby car seats is your best bet to your child’s safety in a collision.