How to pick the right car seat for your little ones
The importance of car seats can’t be underestimated. A parent’s worst nightmare can come true if their child is not protected properly when riding in a car.
However it can be tough to pick out the right car seat for your child. With so many different types of seats to choose from it can be easy to be misled or choose the wrong seat.
There are many factors to consider when selecting a car seat, including your child’s age and size, as well as what kind of car you drive.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children under age two should always sit in a rear-facing car seat, unless they grow past the manufacturer’s recommended height and weight.
“Under the age of two, children’s head size relative to body is large. Therefore, it is riskier for paralysis/spinal cord injury if forward-facing (whiplash like motion in an accident),” she says. “Additionally it’s important to know that preemie babies may need special car seats.”
Once toddlers and infants outgrow rear-facing car seats, they should graduate to front-facing car seats.
Dr. Kane says that children should start using booster seats “after age four and 40 inches in height.”
“Kids should use a booster until they are eight-years-old and 80 pounds, but again longer is better,” she says. “Children should also stay in the back seat until age 12 and are adult-sized.”
When shopping for car seats, be aware that the best and safest seat for your child is the one that fits best and is correctly installed. Dr. Kane says that higher priced car seats do not necessarily guarantee the safety of the seat. Also, parents should avoid buying used car seats, if don’t know the history of it.
Dr. Kane offers the following three tips for parents to remember:
- Be a good role model and wear your seat belt at all times.
- Do not leave your child alone in a car or unsupervised around cars under any circumstance.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Picking out a car seat can be challenging, Dr. Kane says, but it is necessary to take these extra steps to ensure your child is safe when hitting the road.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.