Rear facing seats are undeniably the safest way for young children to ride in cars. The seat absorbs the force created by the impact and helps guard the child from injury.
Statistically, when used properly, rear facing seats drastically reduce the injuries and the severity of injuries sustained in car accidents- statistics indicate that children are 5.32 times safer in a rear facing seat.
Research has shown that children should remain rear facing for as long as possible.
Legally, the requirement may only be that children must remain rear facing for a year or two.
The American Acadmey of Pediatrics states that children should be rear facing for at least 2 years. Child safety seats are available to accommodate children well into their toddler years.
The Clek Foonf, for instance, has a rear facing weight limit of 50 lbs (it has a lower weight limit of 14 lbs and a height range of 25-43 inches). However, these car seats can be extremely expensive many over $400.
Buying Your First Baby Car Seat
When you purchase a car seat make sure it is compatible with your car, some car seats fit all cars. There are websites that can help parents choose the best seat for their cars.
Car seats also need to be installed properly. Most car seats are actually installed improperly or used improperly which reduces their effectiveness.
Many local fire departments and police departments offer car seat checks and installations. This is worth the time and effort.
Car seats are for traveling. Children should not be left in their car seats and placed on shopping carts or brought into the home while the child is sleeping. This is because a sleeping infant can slide down and compromise their airway. Laying with their heads in one position can also contribute to babies having flat spots on their heads.
When babies are born prematurely, or have medical issues there are special considerations to be made for the safety of the baby. Premature infants are often required to pass a ‘car seat challenge’ before discharge. This means that a child need to have the ability to maintain their oxygen levels and heart rate for a specified period of time. In other circumstances there are specially trained medical personal to help.
It is tempting to buy a used car seat to save money. However it is not a good idea. Even in small accidents the integrity of the car seat can be compromised. This is one area that it is important to spend the money. There is assistance available for families who cannot afford to purchase a car seat. Many hospitals refuse to discharge babies without a car seat even if they live down the street and the family does not own a car.
It is also common to want to use the same car seat for subsequent children. Be wary of this. Car seats do have an expiration date. This is because, car seats construction can degrade overtime. The expiration dates of the car seat are printed on the back of the seat. So be mindful.
When an infant is put in a car seat the straps need to be tight enough so that no fabric can be pinched. There should also be nothing in between the car seat and the infant. Infant should not even wear a winter coat when in the car seat. A blanket can be placed on top of the baby for warmth.
When a child reaches the height and weight limit for a car seat, change it promptly. At some a child will need to be turned forward facing. Using a harnessed car seat it is the safest option. Again, the straps should be nice and snug to maximize the safety of the car seat.
Car seats are one of the best safety developments to come along since seatbelts. The protection offered from rear impact, front impact, and side impacts has saved countless infants and children’s lives. Technology and the science keeps advancing making car seats safer and safer.
While driving children can be a huge distraction. They can cry, throw tantrums, scream, and/or throw things. If you are driving, and your child is inconsolable, pulling over and addressing the issue is the best option. Kids often can seem like they pick the worst possible times to throw fits, get sick, or whatever. Do not let them distract you from driving, it puts lives in danger: your life, your child’s life, and others lives.
Traveling is part of our daily lives at this time. It is necessary to be as safe as possible. Car seats are one of the best ways we can protect children when traveling.