If you have children, or are planning to have children, one of the most important thing you need to think about purchasing is a car seat. There are many child car seats to choose from, and making sure you have the right one is very important.
Child car seats are often divided into categories, which manufacturers often refer to as stages. These stages include Stage 1 or Groups 0 & 0+, Stage 2 or Group 1, Stage 3 or Group 2, and, lastly, Stage 4 or Group 3. There are some child car seats that are able to be converted as your child grows, so it can possibly fit into several stages and/or groups.
The first of the main types of child car seats is the rear-facing baby seat for children who fit into Group 0. These are used from birth to up to 6-9 months and/or for infants weighing up to 22 pounds. They also fit the Group 0+ category since some are made for use from birth up to 12-15 months and/or infants weighing up to 29 pounds.
Rear-facing child car seats are to be used in either the front seat or back seat of an automobile. However, it is known to be safer when they are used in the back seat. Never use rear-facing child car seats in a front passenger seat if it has a passenger-side airbag.
Rear-facing child car seats offer much greater protection for an infant’s head, neck, and also spine. So, it is recommended that you use rear-facing child car seats as long as you can, moving your child into a forward-facing seat only after he/she is too big for the seat’s weight limit or his/her head is higher than the seat’s top.
This brings us to forward-facing child car seats. These are for children who fit into Group 1, used from 9 months to 4 years of age, or for children weighing 20-40 pounds. As with rear-facing child car seats, forward-facing child car seats can be used both in the front and back seats, although using it in the back seat is recommended.
A forward-facing child car seat should be used until the child is too big for the seat’s weight limit, and/or the top of the child’s head is higher than the seat’s top.
Lastly, we come to the booster cushion or booster seats. The booster cushion/seat is used for children ranging from 6 to 11-years-old and weighing from 48 to 79 pounds. As with both the rear-facing and forward-facing child car seats, the booster cushion/seat can be used in both the front and back seats, although the back seat is recommended as safer.
Neither booster cushions nor booster seats have an harness that is used to hold a child in the correct place. Instead, an adult car seat belt is used to go around both the child and the seat. This means that having the seat belt correctly adjusted is very important.
While using a booster cushion/seat, you need to make sure that the seat belt worn is as tight as it can possibly be, the lap belt is positioned over the child’s pelvic region, and not his/her stomach, and that the diagonal seat belt strap rests over his/her shoulder, not his/her neck.
When it comes to choose child car seats for your child, it is very important that you make sure the one you choose works both for your child and the type of automobile that you drive.