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Safety for babies and children is a priority that parents and the government share. While parents have the duty of making sure they buy proper safety equipment and infant car seats, the government takes up the mantle of ensuring manufacturers follow the rules and produce car seats with the most effective safety features.
Other government organization duties include policy-making and reviews to make sure that car seats remain relevant and are used the right way. Recently, there was a review of the use of car seats. It’s essential to stay up to date with such changes to keep your child safe when in the car and also to avoid problems with the law.
What are the new American Academy of Paediatrics recommendations about:
Image Source: https://www.womentd.com/best-infant-baby-car-seat/
- Infants and toddlers should keep using a rear-facing car seat or a rear-facing convertible car seat until they are 2 years old or they reach the weight or height limit. Some models can support up to 35 pounds of weight. However, you may have to buy a rear-facing convertible car seat for larger infants.
Often, the child is going to reach the height limit before their 2nd birthday and before they reach the weight limit. That means that parents should be prepared to replace their rear-facing car seat sooner.
- Toddlers older than the age of two years or those that have outgrown the rear-facing car seat can transition to a forward-facing car seat. The ideal car seat should have long harness straps that are adjustable until the child outgrows the seat as well.
Most convertible seats can support up to 80 pounds when used with the harness straps.
- Once the child reaches the height and weight limit of the forward-facing car seat harness straps, the child can move to a regular seat belt with the aid of a booster seat.
- To use a regular seat belt, the AAP advises that the child should be between 8 to 12 years old, and be at least 4 feet and 9 inches tall. These are the recommended parameters for the child to use regular seat belts safely.
- Children below 13 years should always sit in the back seat. The child should also be in the appropriate restraint at all times while in the car.
These guidelines have been reaffirmed multiple times over the last few years, along with the best car seat practices to ensure that your child is as safe as possible in case of an impact.
Best Car Seat Practices
Image source: https://www.safekids.org/ultimate-car-seat-guide/faqs/
While the AAP will recommend the height and weight limits for which children should be in different types of car seats, it’s upon you to make proper use of the car seat. Even the best car seat will not be of much help if it’s not used correctly.
Here are some car seat best practices that will heighten the safety level and ensure your child is secure and safe.
Tight, Tight, and Tight
The car seat should be installed tightly. This applies to both seat belts or a LATCH system. If the seat can move more than an inch when you hold the bottom, the car seat is not tight enough.
By having a seat tightly in place, you reduce movement in case of impact, and you prevent both the seat and child from becoming projectiles.
It’s every parent’s goal to see their child grow up and become independent. But, when it comes to car safety, you shouldn’t let your goals and dreams rush your child. Let the child use the right equipment as long as possible. As long as the child is within the right height and weight limit, there’s no point in moving them to another type of car seat.
When deciding on whether your child is old enough to use the regular seatbelts, there’s a quick tip you can use. Make sure the child can sit in the back seat with his back against the seat and his knees bent at the edge of the seat. He should not be struggling or slouching. The shoulder belt should pass through the middle of this chest and not the neck and his lap belt should be against his upper thigh and not his tummy.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
In a bid to get everything right, there are common mistakes that most parents and guardians will make without knowing.
- The first and most common mistake is choosing the wrong type of car seat for your child’s age, weight and height. When choosing a car seat for your child, safety is more important than convenience. It’s utterly critical to get the right car seat for your child.
- For rear-facing car seats, you always have to observe the 45-degree rule and ensure the harness straps are not loose.
- Most new car models have a LATCH system. Make sure you check if your car has this system. If it does, you have to use it. It provides better anchoring for the car seat hence better safety for the child.
If it’s your first time using a car seat or you didn’t know, it’s important to polish up on the different car seat laws in your locality. The laws and guidelines are set to ensure children are safe while on the road. Understanding these laws can save you a trip to the precinct, a fine, or even a court date.
The AAP and other child safety bodies are tightening the noose when it comes to car safety and children. The policies are constantly changing and being updated, which means you should take time to read up as well.
With the new changes, you might have to transition from an infant rear-facing car seat sooner than you would have had to in the past. While this might hurt your finances, it’s for the best and safety of your little one.