If you’re going to be hitting the road with your kids any time this summer, then you’ll be dealing with car safety seats.
You’re probably looking forward to getting out of the house. It’s more than likely that you’ve had enough of all this sitting around inside, but what with the health concerns still sweeping across the country.
Maybe you want to go see a national park or an amusement park with a new roller coaster. Perhaps you want to visit some of your relatives and practice safe distancing.
Whatever your plans are, though, if you’ve got kids in the car, you need to make sure they’re buckled up safely along the way.
Part of traveling safely is having the right child safety seats in the vehicle. Here are some car safety seat facts to make sure you’re using them the right way.
Car Safety Seats – What Type You Should Use And When
Infants and Toddlers
The first thing to know is that if you’re ever in a serious car accident, you should replace any child safety seat that was in the car at the time.
Even if it doesn’t look like the accident affected the seat, you don’t know if there was any damage that you can’t easily see.
If you have an infant or toddler on the ride with you, you can put them in one of two safety seat varieties. Those would be either a rear-facing seat or a convertible seat facing the rear.
Any toddler or infant should continue riding in one of those two-seat choices until they reach the highest weight appropriate for that particular model.
Make sure and check the highest weight allowed for the one you get. If you’re not sure about that, you can check the company website’s FAQ section or contact them via phone or email. They should be happy to answer any questions you have.
Most convertible seats are okay for kids up to two years old, but sometimes you’ll find an exception.
Toddlers or Preschoolers
As your kids get a little bit older, you’ll need to switch to different car seats. Now, the type of seat you want is either a forward-facing convertible model or a forward-facing model with a harness.
These are for kids who have recently outgrown their rear-facing seats. You’ll be able to tell because they’re over the height limit, weight limit, or perhaps both.
Be sure and keep careful track of this since it’s potentially dangerous to have a child in a car seat that they have outgrown.
Once your child gets to preschool age, the same rules apply as with the rear-facing seat models. You’re going to want to leave them in there until they’ve outgrown this second version.
These forward-facing seats can usually accommodate kids up to 65 pounds, but once again, you should check out the packaging for directions or go on the company website to be sure.
For kids that are a little bit older than the forward-facing seat models allow, you’ll want a booster seat. You can find many different belt-positioning booster seats on Amazon, other online marketplaces, or in certain brick-and-mortar locations.
You should keep your children in the booster seat until you can buckle them in with a seatbelt with no booster seat required.
Booster seats are usually no longer required when your children have grown to 4 feet and 9 inches tall. For most kids, that happens between ages 8 and 12, but it varies depending on different factors.
The experts also feel that all kids younger than 13 should continue riding in the back seat, where it is safer than the front if you get in a collision.
If your child is 13 or above, then probably they will have outgrown all the different booster seat varieties. They can now wear seatbelts like a typical adult.
For the best protection, make sure that they wear both the lap and shoulder belts. They come standard in any vehicle variety.
You can set an excellent example for them as they’re growing up by always wearing your seatbelt. If they see you doing it, then they’ll get in the habit as well. Kids imitate what they see, and that goes for both good and bad behavior.
If you’re a new parent, then take some time to practice with the different kinds of safety seats before installing them in your car and strapping your young ones into them.
They only work if you use them the right way. If you’re expecting, you might consider taking parenting classes to teach you about responsible car seat use.
Now, you’re ready to take a trip this summer season. A little vacation should do you some good if you’ve been depressed or worried about world-wide health conditions.
Spending time with the kids in a new setting should put all of you in a better mind frame as we get ready to head into the fall months.