One the most major jobs you have as a parent or a guardian is keeping your child safe at all times when driving. According to a research posted in New York Times, one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of 15 years is attributed to unintentional injury, and one of the common causes of unintentional injury is car accidents.
Between 2010 and 2014, over 2500 children died in vehicle accidents in the United States only- this means that 11 children died in a week from car crashes. This number excluded pedestrians, those who died from bicycle accidents and motorcycle accidents and those who died riding in unenclosed trailer or cargo area.
According to the study, most of these children were not wearing seatbelts, were improperly restrained, accounting to 43%. Another 15% of the children were sitting in the front seat while 13% were driving in car driven by a person under alcohol influence. From the study above, it’s evidently that a majority of deaths are due to negligence which can be easily avoided by proper restraining.
The right use of car safety seats helps keep your child safe just in case the worst happens. However with so many car seats in the market, parents find it quite overwhelming. If you expectant mother, it’s important that you give yourself enough time and learn how to correctly install the car safety in your car before your little angel is born to ensure that you get a safety ride back home from the hospital.
The type of car seat for your child is dependent on several factors including your child’s size, age, and developmental needs.
3 TYPES OF CAR SEATS
Like aforementioned, the type of car seat your child needs depends on several factors. Depending on these factors, you can choose the right seat for your child. But it is also important that you undertake a due diligence to learn more about each seat you use.
Classification of car seats according to age group
1. Infants & Toddlers
· Rear facing convertible
· Rear facing only
It’s advised that all infants and toddlers ride on rear facing seats until at least the age of 2 years or attain the highest height or weight allowed by the car manufacturer.
2. Toddlers & Preschoolers
· Forward facing with harness
If your child has outgrown the rear facing height or weight limit, it’s now time for him/her to use a forward facing seat with a harness up to the highest height or weight allowed by the car safety seat manufacturer.
3. School-Aged Children
· Booster seats
If your child exceeds the height or weight limit for the forward facing seats, then he/she should use a belt positioning booster seat until when the standard vehicle seat belts fits properly or when they have attained 4ft 9inches in height. Children younger than 13 years should always seat in the back seat.
4. Older Children
· Seat Belts
If your child is older enough for the car seat belt to fit him/her enough, then they should use lap and shoulder seat belts for protection. Children younger than 13 years should always seat in the back seat.
Rear-Facing Car Seats for Toddlers & Infants
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all toddlers and infants ride in their rear facing seats until they are at least 2 years of age or at least they attain the minimum height or weight allowed by the car safety seat manufacturer. When your child outgrows the rear facing only seat, then a convertible rear facing seat should be installed.
Types of Rear-Facing Seats:
There are three types of rear facing seats: 3-in1, convertible and rear-facing-only. When your child reaches the highest length or weight allowed by the car seat safety manufacturer of their rear-facing-only, he/she should continue riding in rear facing convertible or 3-in-1 seat.
Rear-facing –only seat
· Rear-facing-only seats are ideal for infant’s weight between 22-40 pounds depending on the model.
· They are small and often have carrying handles.
· They come with a base that can be left in the car, and the seats clicks into & out of the base, so there is no need of installing it each time you use it.
· They are specifically designed for travel only and should not be used for feeding or sleeping or any other use outside the vehicle.
· They are bigger than infant seats, do not have carrying handles like the rear-facing-only seats or separate bases and are designed to stay in the car.
· They can be used as rear facing seats and later be converted to forward facing and thus the name “convertible seats”.
· They should be only used for travel and not any other activities outside the vehicle.
· Many of the convertible seats have higher limits (up to 40-50 pounds) and heights compared to rear-facing-only seats.
· They feature a 5-point harness that attaches at the hips, shoulders and between the legs.
· 3-in-1 seats can be used forward facing, rear facing or even as a belt-positioning booster. This means that they can be used longer by the child.
· They are usually bigger in size, so it is always important to confirm that they fit in your car while rear facing.
· They do not have a convenience of a separate base or carrying handle: however the 3-in-1 seats have higher limits in terms of height and weight making them ideal for bigger toddlers and babies.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rear Facing Seats
1. What if my child’s feet touch the back of the vehicle seat?
This is a common concern for every parent, but it should cause you no worry. As you have noticed, children can being their legs with ease and will feel comfortable while in a rear-facing seat. There have been very few (negligible) incidences of injuries for children facing the rear.
2. Does a preemie require a special car seat?
Every car seat should be approved for a baby’s weight. Preemies should be tested while in the hospital to ensure that they can perfectly and safely sit in semi-reclined positions. For babies that need to lie flat during travel should always ride in a car bed that meets the requirements set by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard and they should be tested while in the hospital to ensure they can lie safely in the car bed.