As parents, one of the most important jobs we have is to keep our children safe. Thousands of children are either killed or injured each year as a result of car accidents. Using a car seat properly can help prevent many of these deaths and injuries but with so many options and so much advice out there it can be overwhelming.
Our most important piece of advice – check with the experts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a great deal of information on everything from choosing the right car seat for your child, to installing it correctly and keeping up to date on recalls. You can visit their website here.
You can also consult with a car seat technician to ensure you are using the right car seat for your child or infant and to check for proper installation. In South Florida you can contact the Pembroke Pines Police Department, Coral Springs Fire Department, or the University of Miami Injury Free Coalition (among others) for these services.
Here are some basic guidelines for the type of car seat you should be using. Always check with the seat manufacturer for proper height and weight limits.
For Infants and Toddlers: Either a rear-facing only or a rear-facing convertible car seat. Children should be in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least 2 years old. There are also extended rear-facing car seats on the market, as keeping children rear-facing as long as possible will ensure their safety.
Toddlers and Preschoolers: Once your child has outgrown their rear-facing car seat they should be in a forward-facing seat with a harness. This type of seat should be used as long as possible, as long as the seat’s height and weight limits allow.
School-Aged Kids: If your child is no longer within the weight and height limit for their forward-facing car seat they can be transitioned into a belt positioning booster seat. Usually these can be used until the child is 8-12 years old or have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height. As always, check your seat manufacturer’s instructions first.
Older Kids: When your child is large enough and old enough to stop using a booster seat they still need to continue using the lap and shoulder seat belt. Make sure these fit properly and comfortably. Additionally, children younger than 13 should never ride in the front seat.
A wonderful resource for comparing different types or car seats, their specs and costs is www.carseatblog.com.
At Preferred Link our goal is to educate our clients and empower them with the knowledge to make informed decisions. One of the best ways to protect your family is with the right insurance coverage. Contact an agent today to discuss your needs and those of your family.