Child Safety Car Seats
All U.S. states currently
require all children under 4 years of age to be in a car-safety seat
when riding in a car. In many states, the upper age limit is even
higher so make sure you know the law in any state in which you will be
driving. Consumers Union recommends that older children under 57
inches tall should be in a booster seat.
It is imperative that the
car seat be the right size for you child, that it is properly installed,
and used whenever your child is in the car. Children under 12 are
safest in the back seat and completely away from Air bags. A rear
facing car seat should never be placed in the front seat if there are
air bags in the car.
There are several types of
car safety seats. Each is designed for different ages and
weights. It is important to know the purposes of each kind of car
seat, and to make sure you are properly using the correct kind.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued guidelines for use of car
Rear Facing Car Seats
It is recommended that you
use a rear facing car seat until your child reaches the upper weight
limits for the particular seat you are using. Consult the
instructions that came with your seat to determine what that weight is
for your seat.
There are actually two
kinds of rear facing car seats. An infant only seat is for
infants up to 20-22 pounds. Convertible rear facing seats are
larger, and they can be converted to forward-facing seats for older
Forward Facing Car Seats
After your child reaches
the upper limits for their rear facing seat, you will use a forward
facing seat. This can be either a convertible rear facing seat,
or a seat that is manufactured to be only a forward facing car
seat. Another possibility is a seat that converts from a
forward facing seat to a booster seat. Some cars are equipped
with forward facing or booster seats.
Be sure to the check the
manufacturer's instructions for the proper use of your seat.
Booster Car Seats
Booster seats are
available generally for children over 40 pounds. These seats are
intended to raise a child so the car lap and shoulder seat belts fit
It is important to make sure
you thoroughly understand the manufacturer's instruction for using the
particular seat you are using.