The child car seat is one of the most important baby safety devices of the last 40 years. In fact, the hospital won’t let you take baby home without one.
Although child seats first appeared in the 1960s, those models only kept children out of mom’s and dad’s hair. It wasn’t until the 1970s that car seats became a safety device for babies and children. Of course, it took many more years, and state laws, to make car seats a necessity.
However, buckling your child or grandchild into that trusted device doesn’t mean they are safe. Proper installation is more difficult than people realize.
Car Seat Models, Installation, and Rules Have Evolved
Car seat installation used to be as simple. You threaded the seat belt through a couple of openings in the back and clicked the buckle in place. Voila!
As this Fatherly article points out, no matter how easy the manual claims it will be, it won’t. Today’s car seats are designed to work with “anchor points” in modern cars and trucks. Different cars have different anchor points.
You don’t have to install your child safety seat alone. Many local fire and police departments have someone trained in proper installation. Safe Kids Worldwide also can help you find a safety installation event or a certified child passenger safety technician near you.
You’ve properly installed your child safety seat. Now, how long does your child need to use it?
New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) say children should remain in a car and then booster seat as long as possible. The guidelines also say weight should be the determining factor in safety seat position and usage.
In the first years of life, rear facing child seats provide the most safety. AAP now recommends that children remain rear facing up to the age of four, if possible.
Once the safety seat faces forward, children should continue to use a car seat of to the size and weight limits of the product. This is 60 pounds for most models. After that, children should remain in a booster seat until they can use a seat belt that fits correctly.
Just like other products, recalls for child car seats sometimes happen. Stay alert for these notices to ensure your product is still safe.
The Keating Agency provides protection for your home, car, and business. The information we provide keeps you up to date on practices that improve safety for you, your family, and all the things you care about.
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