If you are looking to have your basic questions on car seat safety answered, but don’t know where to turn, please take a look at the typical Frequently Asked Questions that we compiled for you.
1. Why does my baby need a car seat?
Car seats are prerequisites if you are having your toddler driving alongside you in the car. It is reported that car crashes and sudden braking can lead to bone dislocations, spinal cord misalignments, and other discrepancies in your baby. To place your kid firmly secure in your car, you need an effective car seat with robust harnesses. It is illegal to have your kid with you in the car without a car seat in US. The hospital will not let you take the baby home unless you have a car seat in your car. State law requires that children up to 4 years of age be strapped in a car seat while riding. In addition most states also require older children to ride in booster seats.
2. Where must I position the car seat in the car?
For babies below 2 years, it is imperative to opt for rear-facing car seats, as front facing seats put maximum weight and stress on the tender spinal cord system of your baby. This could lead to brain damage and nervous disorders. In case you have a two-seater car, make sure that your airbags are deflated or there is power backup in case the airbag fails during a crash.
3. What are booster seats?
If your toddler is too big to sit in his car seat, yet not mature enough to be put in the normal adult seat of the car, you have booster seat options, which come in both front and rear facing varieties. In front faced seats, you have the options of a convertible that gives the ability to recline and droop, keeping the harnesses intact.
4. The weight limit on most car seats is 40 pounds. My baby weighs more than 40 pounds but is not old enough to be strapped in a normal car seat with a booster belt. Help!
There are various contemporary car seat designs from eminent manufacturers that accommodate babies with their weights in the range of 40 pounds to 60 pounds. These car seats are bulky, have storage space and many other amenities. Some companies you can check out for available options are Chico Cortina, Britax Frontier, Graco Rides and others. There are plenty of models available on online shopping stores and retail markets for you to choose from.
5. I have a vehicle with a built-in car seat. How safe can that be?
Built-in car seats are great options and save you the hassle of installing and disassembling them every time you take your kids out. However, you must make sure that the car seats are rear-facing, have side safety foam, capacity to adjust the height and harnesses depending on the size of your baby and can be reclined to whatever level you need without adversely impacting your child. If the in-built seat provided in your car, meets these requirements, nothing better than it!
6. I’m planning to buy a used car seat. What things must feature on my checklist?
You must initially ascertain that the car seat you’re planning to buy has never seen a car crash. The next thing would be to check, preferably with a mechanic or a car seat specialist, whether all the parts in the car seat are working well. The durability, brand, the age, and the maintenance required by the car seat are other concerns.
7. Which is the safest place I should look to have my car seat installed in the car?
Without exception, the middle rear-facing seat behind your car is the best position for your car seat to receive minimum impact stresses from possible bumps on the road, car crashes and sudden braking.
8. What are the factors I must remember when I install the car seat?
You must make sure that you install the car seat such that it does not move more than an inch along the sides, no matter how great the applied force is. You are to see that all the straps are threaded through the slots commissioned for the same and ensure that there are no slack ends. The harness retainer clip must ideally be pitched at the armpit level of your kid, and it also must have a solid base support to cushion against impacts. Use tethers and secure your harness firmly to avoid injuries during jerks and car crashes.
9. How can I possibly know whether the car seat fits my car?
The best way to check out whether your car seat is compatible with your car is to try fitting it into your car, before you purchase it. Read all the instructions, both in your Car Manual and the Infant Seat Manual, and check whether there is unevenness, safety belts that dislodge your car seat positions, etc. in your car when you try your infant seat into it.
10. How do I use the tether?
Tethers are straps that are attached to the upper end of the car seat, and in the case of forward facing car seats, they are further supplemented by designated tethers to mitigate the impact your child feels by at least 4 to 6 inches. You must attach and secure your tethers firmly even if you use a booster seat, instead of letting it dangle along the harness, as a safety precaution.
11. What is the LATCH system and how different is it from simply strapping the car seat?
LATCH is an acronym that stands for ‘Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children’ in cars and is popular because of the robust and tight fits it provides, when compared to the loose and slack straps you get using seat belts. The LATCH is particularly beneficial if your child is below 12 years of age, and too small to be placed on an adult seat with his seat belts on.
12. Why do I need a locking clip for my car seat?
Locking clips are often mounted on the shoulder and waist straps to keep the latches from disengaging, and the child from falling off the car seat. Placing a locking clip within an inch of the belt latch will help you secure the harness even more firmly, leading to lesser impact damages during car crashes, though they are not generally needed, and are simply an additional safety device.
13. I’m looking to place both my kids on one car and they fit amazingly well. How safe can that be?
Absolutely not! You are not advised to put both your kids on the same car seat, no matter how well they fit into it. Studies have shown that their heads may collide during a crash leading to fatal injuries. Plus, you do not want your child to feel claustrophobic in the car.
14. Is bulky clothing obtrusive to car seat effectiveness?
Yes, it is. Bulky clothes take most of the tightness of the harness away from the body and cause slackening in the harness buckles. You’d better save warm clothing for the outdoors and clothe your baby in simple single layered outfits when you strap him to the car seat.