As most parents know, the days can be the long but the years are short. It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, and you may not even realize that your child may be due for a new car seat. However, it's important that you take the time to check your child's safety seat at least several times per year, to make sure that they are still using the proper seat and that it is safely installed in the right location in the vehicle.
Moving from an infant car seat to a convertible car seat
You can't even bring your new baby home from the hospital unless you have an infant car seat properly installed in your car. The infant car seat should be rear-facing, and ideally should be situated in a center seat if at all possible. That first year of your infant's life is going to go by fast, so you will want to be monitoring for signs that your baby has outgrown its infant car seat. The individual height and weight requirements will be labeled on the seat. Once your baby has exceeded those limits, it is time to move to a convertible car seat.
Moving from a convertible car seat to a booster seat
According to Consumer Reports, your infant should move to a convertible car seat around the time they are one year old. These car seats are larger and feature a five-point harness system designed to protect your child in the event of an accident. Most laws require infants to be rear-facing until they are one, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children remain rear-facing in their car seats until the age of 2 or beyond. Many children spend several years in their convertible car seat, so you will want to make sure your car seat hasn't expired. Every car seat has an expiration date that is listed on the item. Never use or sell an expired car seat. Once a child has exceeded the height and weight requirement for their convertible car seat, they will then be able to upgrade to a booster seat.
Moving from a booster seat to a safety belt.
The booster seat is the most affordable and most versatile car seat on the market, and it can easily be transferred between cars which makes it ideal for working parents or those involved in carpools. While it may be tempting to ditch the booster seat and allow your child to sit in a regular seat and use the safety belt, it's important to wait until they are developmentally ready. Many children are between the ages of 9 and 11 when they are tall enough to safely use the regular seat belt.
On the surface, it may seem more convenient to upgrade to a car seat that seems more comfortable or that has a more affordable price tag. However, it's imperative that parents keep the safety of their children as their top priority. When properly installed, the right car seat is going to protect your child in the event of an automobile accident.
If your child has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent driver, you can take action. Contact our law firm today and set up a consultation appointment with an experienced personal injury attorney.