You remember how jittery and restless you were as a child when your dad used to take you for a car ride. Your children are no different. Therefore, it is important to ensure the safety of the child as they are often more susceptible to harm during an accident. While restraining them with incentives and threats might work for some time, it is barely a viable fix to ensure that your child does not come in harm’s way. Neither would a seat belt be of use as it is meant for adults. This is why it is important to invest in car safety seats for your kids. The different car safety seats available for children of different age groups are explored below! Read on to learn more about them.
Type of Child Seat and Its Salient Features
A detailed overview of all the car seats based on age groups, along with installation tips are given as follows –
|Age of the child||Weight or height parameter||Kind of seat|
|Birth to 2 years of age||Over 10 kgs and more than 50 cm in height||Rear-facing toddler’s seat|
|From 2 to 4 years of age||No more than 40 pounds||Forward-facing toddler’s seat|
|From 4 to 8 years of age||Up to 4 feet 9 inches tall||Belt-positioning booster seat|
|After 8 years of age||4 feet 9 inches tall and above||Seat belts|
Below described seats are meant for children in the age group of 0-1 year, and they must weigh over 10 kgs and must be more than 50 cm in height.
Rear-facing only – these seats ensure that the fragile child is offered a comfortable seat and the seat is made in such a way that the neck muscles of the child are well protected. They are often designed like a basket to make it easy to lift it without taking the child out of the seat. Some of them come with detachable strollers for greater convenience.
Rear-facing with convertible – they are bulkier than other rear-facing seats. They do not have handles nor separate bases and are designed to stay in the car. These seats are meant to hold the infant at the shoulders, hips, and between legs. They are known as convertibles as they can be converted to forward-facing seats for older children who have outgrown the weight and length limit.
The following aspects must be kept in mind while installing the seat –
- Place the harnesses in slots that are at or below the child’s shoulder.
- Ensure that the harness is snug and the retainer clip must be placed at the centre of the chest, even with your child’s armpits.
- It must be securely placed with no scope for it to move forward or backward.
- Do not place the seat in the front seat of the vehicle which has an active front passenger airbag. When the airbag inflates, it can prove to be fatal.
- If you are using a convertible or all-in-one seat in the rear-facing position, make sure the seat belt or lower anchor webbing is routed through the correct belt path. Check the instructions that came with the car safety seat to be sure.
- Ensure that the angle of the seat is proper.
- Follow the vehicle owner’s manual for hints about how this must be done.
Toddlers and Pre-schoolers
These seats are designed to prevent the child from being thrown forward. It has a strong three-point harness that has adjustable belts to secure the child. The heavy padding and soft braces around the neck will also prevent any sort of whiplash injuries. It can be used to allow the child to sleep.
- Forward-facing convertible – these convertible seats are such that once the child outgrows this stage, the car seat then transforms into a high-back booster seat. It usually comes with the LATCH system for easy installation.
- Forward-facing with a harness – is usually used for a child between 22 and 65 pounds and 27 and 52 inches tall.
Booster – these seats are used for children who have outgrown the seats but haven’t reached adult height. It prevents the seatbelt from passing over the neck of the child as that is a dangerous thing to happen. Use the appropriate lap and sash type of seat belts to fasten the child. Adjust and double-check the same to avoid any mishap.
Seat belts – these can be used for older children when they reach the height of about 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 to 12 years of age. It is advisable to use the lap and shoulder seat belts when the children are larger enough. The lap belt must be placed snugly across the upper thighs and not the belly.
Little acts of caution go a long way in ensuring the safety of your family. As a safety measure, make sure that you are also driving with the seatbelt on you. Also, make sure that you are carrying valid car documents such as a driving license, registration certificate, etc. Additionally, you should get both car insurance policy and child insurance – and keep these papers in order, and within your reach, in the case of emergencies.