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Car Safety: Critical Requirements for Selecting a Car Seat for Your Child

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Car Safety—What is the leading cause of death in children? It is automobile accidents. Many accidental deaths and injuries to children could be avoided if children are always securely strapped into a safe car seat. The key considerations when selecting a car seat are your child's height, weight, age, and the method of attachment of the seat to your automobile. Although there are many unique variations and car seat types, most car seats are designed for the following characteristics: newborns, younger toddlers, older toddlers, and children with special needs.

Selecting a Car Seat for Your Child

Newborns

Newborns are defined as infants under the age of twelve months weighting less than twenty pounds. Children at this stage are still developing neck muscles and have difficulty holding their head erect. These children should always be transported in a rear-facing car seat or a convertible car seat that is installed facing the rear. The child should remain in a rear-facing seat until he reaches both the age and the weight limits specified.

Young Toddlers

Children that are one year old or older, and have exceeded the physical requirements for remaining in a rear-facing car seat, can make the transition into the forward-facing seat. These seats, as with the rear-facing types, are offered in front-facing or convertible designs. The child's physical parameters given above are typical, but not necessarily conformed to by every car seat manufacturer. Be sure to check the manufacturer's specifications to determine if your child meets the physical requirements for that specific seat. I chose the best convertible car seat 2011-Britax Roundabout Convertible Car Seat for my kids since this best rated convertible car seat accommodates both rear-facing and forward-facing phrases, accompanying baby for a longer time.

Older Toddlers

These older and physically larger children have exceeded the size specifications for the forward-facing seats, and are now ready for transition to a child booster seat. Booster seats are designed to position the child to correct height for positioning them and securing them using the adult seat belts of the automobile. The Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the child should continue to be placed in the back seat of the car until he or she reaches the age of thirteen years old. Britax Frontier 85 Car Seat is highly recommended by most of my friends because of its features of safety, comfort, convenience and so on. And I have read many Britax Frontier 85 reviews most of which give high rating to this booster car seat.

Children With Special Needs

Some children, either through congenital defect, accident, behavioral issues, or exceptional growth patterns, require special car seats. There are many specialty and medical device manufacturers that make seats to meet many special needs, and custom seats can be made for specific cases. The seat should be easy to install and use, have an excellent safety rating, and be the right size for your infant's weight and height. Paying a little extra for a quality product is worth the cost when you consider what you are protecting.

Warnings About Car Seats

Don't consider buying a used car seat. Car seats are damaged and structurally stressed over years of use. Car seat designs change rapid over time with the changes directed toward greater safety. Older seats may have been subjected to a recall without your knowledge. You baby's life and well being is too important to risk for a bargain on a used car seat.

Don't shop for a seat before you do your research. Trying to select a car seat from a general merchandise store can be risky. You tend to become drawn to "how cute" the seat looks, or how inexpensive it is. Research car seats on the Internet. Check with consumer watchdog agencies. Check with the appropriate government websites to see what seats have been subject to recall. Once you've determined the type of seat that you want, perhaps even selected a manufacturer and specific model number, you're ready to shop intelligently. Armed with this information, you can actually get a good deal at a general merchandise store. The secret is to know what you need.

If you do not have time to do extensive research, your next best source would be at a store that specializes in baby products and accessories.

Generally, specialty stores have one or more people who are experts in the type of products that they sell. You can assume that all of the car seats meet government specifications and safety requirements, but quality and ease of use are still important considerations.

Don't purchase a car seat until you understand thoroughly how to install it safely in your car. LATCH means Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children; a system integrated into most new automobiles to provide secure anchors for attaching the car seat. Ask the retailer if you can get a demonstration showing how to install the seat. The safety features designed into a modern car seat are effective only if the seat is properly installed. Most stores that specialize in baby products have interactive displays at which you can actually practice installation in the store.

What did you take into consideration when selecting a car seat for your child? What were the most important features?

Amy Brown is an editor of Livesnet, a site offering baby gear reviews and tips on problems parents encounter in daily life. Please visit Livesnet and read hot review on Joovy Sit N Stand Stroller.

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Jen Tilley

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