One of your most critical parental duties is keeping your kid safe while traveling in a car. Numerous children are killed or injured in vehicle accidents every year. Children are best kept safe by the proper usage of the right car safety seats. But many parents find locating and using them properly a daunting task, since there are many different types of seats available. To guarantee secure travel home from the hospital if you’re expecting, think about consulting with a trained child passenger safety technician before your kid is born.
The kind of seat your kid needs is determined by several factors, such as age, size, and developmental requirements. The American Academy of Pediatrics also offers guidance on selecting the best kid vehicle safety seat every year.
When can a young child begin using a booster seat?
When a child exceeds the height or weight limits of their 5-point harness car seat, they are ready for a booster seat. This typically occurs (it depends on the state) when they weigh more than 65 pounds or measure taller than 49 inches.
Your kid is not necessarily ready to transition to a booster seat from a car seat at a certain age. Children often start to exceed the weight restrictions of a 5-point harness car seat between the ages of 5 and 9. Make sure your kid complies with the following standards before switching to a belt-positioning booster seat:
- Typically, children who weigh more than 65 pounds are prepared to go to a booster seat.
- When your youngster is 49 inches tall (about 4 feet tall).
It’s crucial to take your time transitioning to a booster seat. Your child is safest in a car seat if they still meet the standards for height and weight.
Types of Booster Seats
Two common kinds of booster car seats include high-back booster seats and backless ones. They don’t have a harness. Instead, they utilize your car’s lap and shoulder seat belts, just as an adult would. They are designed to lift a youngster so that the lap and shoulder seat belts may be worn appropriately over the child’s most vital body parts.
Most booster seats merely sit on the vehicle seat and are kept in place after the child’s seat belt is buckled rather than being connected to it with the seat belt, lower anchors, or tether. The lower anchors and tether, combined with the lap and shoulder belts, may be used to fasten specific booster seat models to the car seat and keep the child in place there.
What distinguishes backless boosters from those with high backs?
Both boosters are intended to raise your child’s body so that seat belts fit correctly, and both will decrease the likelihood of your youngster sustaining injuries in an accident. Boosters with high backs should be used in cars without headrests or low-back seats. Combination seats are sometimes mistaken for high-back boosters.
They have straps that may be attached for younger children and can subsequently be taken off for older ones. Backless boosters are typically less costly and more straightforward to transport from one car to another. Backless boosters may be utilized securely in vehicles with headrests and high seat backs.
How is a booster seat installed?
The lap-and-shoulder belt in the car and the child’s weight usually keep a booster seat in place. Some chairs use your automobile’s lower anchors and LATCH system, much like a car seat. Before placing your child’s booster seat, it’s crucial to read the instruction handbook. You may also learn how to install the seat correctly and securely by consulting the owner’s guide for your automobile. Sometimes, your child’s daycare or school will have police or fire personnel visit to inspect and correct the safety seat or booster at your request. Take advantage of the free service the next time they offer it.
Here are some crucial guidelines to remember while installing the child’s booster seat:
- Always use a lap and shoulder safety belt with the booster seat.
- Always situate the booster seat in the rear seat.
- Position the child’s safety seat firmly on the car seat.
To ensure the seat belt fits correctly, have your child sit in the booster seat and pull it over their bodies. Instead of going across the stomach, the seat belt should sit low on the hips. The belt should be securely placed in the center of the child’s shoulder across the chest.
Data on Crashes and Inappropriate Use of Booster Seats and Safety Seats
607 child passengers under 13 died in automobile accidents in 2020. Of which, 211 were not secured at the time, while many more had insufficient restraints. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that (NHTSA) car seats cut the risk of fatal injuries inflicted on newborns (under one year old) and toddlers (ages 1 to 4 years old) in passenger vehicles by 71% and 54%, respectively. The comparable decreases for babies and toddlers in light cars are 58% and 59%, respectively.
Lives are saved when children are properly restrained using a suitable technique for their age and size. The NHTSA makes the following suggestions for choosing practical child restraints:
- Keep infants and young as long as youngsters are in rear-facing car seats feasible.
- Children under the age of one should always travel in a rear-facing car seat.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advises children 4- to 7 years old to use forward-facing car seats until they exceed the car’s maximum height or weight restrictions guidelines and then transfer to a booster seat. Choosing the right car seat or booster can be confusing, but the basic guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics is a good place to start.
Until children between 8 and 12 can adequately fit into seat belts, keep them in booster seats.
Ensure that everyone in the car buckles up properly, placing the shoulder belt over the chest rather than on the neck and the lap belt low on the hips. Never put a belt across your shoulders or under your arms.
Do booster seats expire?
Both booster seats and car seats have an expiration date. That results from regular wear and tear, legislation changes, recalls, and manufacturer testing. Car seats often lose their effectiveness 6 to 10 years after manufacturing.
Check the manufacturer’s website for any recalls before buying a secondhand booster seat or borrowing one from a friend. Confirm the product’s website for your booster seat brand and instructions on determining the expiration date if you cannot see one on the bottom or back of the booster seat.