When transporting your children, it is important to have a good car seat. Car accidents are the leading cause of child death in the USA. Thus, the safety of your child is of the utmost importance and deciding on the right car seat is not something that you should do hastily. Many car seats will come with similar safety features, but there are several things that will set one apart from the next.
What gets lost in the process is just how sensitive a child is, particularly infants, to impacts that we would not otherwise think twice about. Shocking jolts or lurches could result in injuries to the neck or head of your infant from something as simple as a quick pump of the brakes.
For these reasons and more, safety is paramount when it comes to choosing the proper car seat. There are so many things that we as parents do not even consider, but thankfully, most car seat manufacturers have thought about it in their production methods.
Finding the right car seat for your child can be a bit confusing if you do not know what it is you are looking for. That is why having a helpful guide on your side can go a long way towards choosing the proper car seat for your needs.
Here are a few important features that you need to look for when choosing a car seat for your child.
Important Safety Features
Not all car seats are created equally. Yes, there are similar features to each of them but there are categories that are important to adhere to. These are just some of the most important safety features to keep in mind when purchasing a car seat for your baby or child.
Most seatbelts are the same as far going over your child’s shoulders and connecting through a chest buckle as well as a buckle between the legs. But what really sets apart the great car seats from the rest is the ability of extra seatbelts to secure the whole car seat.
With the best options available, they will come with anchors. Essentially, these are belts that weave under the seats and can hook into the anchor bar that comes in some back seats. This is essential because it will keep the car seat from moving when heavily jostled, keeping your child secure even in the event of an accident.
One theme that you will notice with car seats is securing the head and neck as well as the spine of your child. Whiplash is a real concern in car accidents; even more so when it comes to a young child. Their necks are not as strong yet and they are more susceptible to head and neck injuries if they are not properly secured.
With proper side impact protection, you can be certain that your child is getting that head, neck, and spine support that will keep them safe in the event of impact. There are some car seats that have energy-absorbing foam built-in that distributes the force of the crash evenly. This can mean the difference between keeping your child safe and seeing them injured.
This is another feature that contributes to the overall safety and protection of your child’s head and neck. With lateral headrests, it keeps your child safe from those instances that may seem minor but actually can impact their head and neck. Potholes and big bumps can cause problems but not with proper lateral headrests.
Pitch Control System
The pitch control system ultimately helps to reduce the amount of forward movement that your child experiences in their seats. This feature can be especially useful in heavy traffic situations, where you may be using your brakes more often.
This is an additional important feature in that it will prevent your child from being thrown forward violently in the event of the accident. This is another feature that will keep your child safe in the event of an accident.
A removable pillow
This feature is most important for infants. As stated previously, a child is not fully developed and they are more sensitive to certain actions than even toddlers. For an infant, their heads are not developed and they are definitely susceptible to impact.
With a removable pillow, it protects the baby’s head from very sensitive shocks that could impact the back of the infant’s skull. Keeping your child stable and secure is always important when protecting your child throughout the transportation process.
You may have seen them before: side wings are padded sections in the car seat that are right around the height of the baby’s chest as well as their shoulders. When properly seated, the baby rests comfortably between that padding.
This is important for longer car rides. Not only will they stay protected for the duration of these longer trips, but they will remain comfortable as well. Particularly for infants, uncomfortable seats can cause pain to your child and result in distracting and troubling crying.
Multiple harness slots
These are import for keeping your child secure in their car seat. Look for well-spaced slots that can be raised as your child continues to grow. This will ensure that your child is secured in a manner that is not too loose or too tightly.
As important as your child’s head and neck are to keep secure, it is essential to make that the rest of their body is secured comfortably as well.
When is it time to upgrade?
As your children get older and grow bigger, it can be important to know when it is time to trade in that old car seat for a new one. But this kind of thing can depend on a number of different things and it is important to know when to trade in because an improper car seat could leave your child susceptible in the event of an accident.
When your child has outgrown it
For infants, a rear-facing car seat will have weight limits that are right around 30 pounds, but most of them do not have height limits. Having a convertible car seat is important so that you can adjust as your child grows and continue to have them sitting rear-facing.
When your child hits one year old
Even if your child still fits in their infant car seat at one year old, it is the safest move for them to switch to a rear-facing convertible car seat. Tests have proven that one-year-olds in convertible car seats were much better protected than those in infant car seats.
When the seat expires
What most parents don’t know is that a child's car seat does carry an expiration date. This is important if you have multiple children and use the same seat for each of them as they age. The lifespan of a car seat is right around six years and the owner’s manual will tell you when it should no longer be used.
When the car seat is damaged or has been in an accident
In the event of a minor accident – a fender bender, if you will – it might still be okay to use your child’s car seat going forward. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that you replace your child’s car seat if it was in a collision that involved either a vehicle being towed or injuries to anyone involved, if the airbags ended up being deployed, or if the seat or the door closest to the seat was damaged in the process.
This, plus regular wear and tear that can be caused by daily use, cooling, and heating can lead to loose parts, worn straps, worn fasteners, or cracks that could compromise the overall safety of the car seat. Periodically checking the structure of the car seat and ensuring that it is not damaged is important for the safety of your child.
Follow height and weight limitations for older children
Not all children grow the same as they age. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to the height and weight limits on the car seat that you have selected. Your child might grow faster at a young age, requiring a different car seat than other kids their age might.
Pay attention to these features and requirements to make sure that your child is in a car seat that is meant for them and not some generic descriptive age.
Ultimately, finding the right car seat comes down to the safety features. Many car seats come with similar features, but you want to make sure that the car seat that you wind up choosing is trusted and has great user reviews. After all, this is the safety of your child and you do not want to skimp in that area. Moreover, your child might spend long periods of time in the car seat. Any child in this scenario might get bored and irritated causing a distraction for the driver. Thus, consider placing dedicated toys at the back seat preferably hanging in an arms reach that will help relax your baby.
While it is not necessary to buy the most expensive option on the market – since cost does not equal quality – it is important to make sure that the one car seat you do choose has all of the proper safety features while remaining comfortable for your child.
Take your time and read up on each car seat before making your decision; this is not a decision that should be rushed or taken lightly. Today you can find online a variety of car seats made by different brands. Deal.guide will help find the right car seat for your child while saving fifty cents on the dollar.
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