Expectant parents in the United States should all know that if they plan
to drive their child home, they will need a car seat. However, anyone
who has gone shopping for a car seat knows that the options can be quite
overwhelming, especially for first-time parents. As the child grows out
of one car seat, choosing the next one can also be an ordeal. Add in the
high pressure and desire to keep your child safe and selecting a car seat
can seem like an intimidating process.
Fortunately, there are many resources for parents to make the best car
seat decision to meet their needs and adequately protect their child at
any age. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) has a
website completely dedicated to assisting parents in choosing a car seat for children
of any age or size. The site not only guides you according to your child’s
age and size, but also provides the ratings for many different brands
and models of various types of car seats. There are also sites that show
you how to properly install a car seat to ensure safety.
The following are some basic guidelines for selecting a car seat to keep
your child safe while riding in the car.
Types of car seats
There are three major types of safety seats and restraint systems that
children should use up until a certain age. These are as follows:
- Rear-facing car seat;
- Front-facing car seat; and
- Booster seat.
Every infant should start in a rear-facing car seat. These seats offer
maximum protection for the infant’s spinal cord and neck, which
have not yet developed full strength. While starting in a rear-facing
seat is always recommended, recommendations on when to switch to a forward-facing
seat are less specific.
No two children grow exactly the same way or at the same rate, so you cannot
base when to switch your car seat solely on a child’s age. Instead,
you should consider age, height, and weight all together when deciding
to make the switch. Every car seat will have height and weight limits
for that particular model and NHTSA recommends that you keep your child
in a rear-facing seat as long as possible according to those limits. Most
children switch to a forward-facing seat sometime between the ages of
one and three years.
Taking your child out of a rear-facing seat depends on each individual
situation; as does making the switch from a forward-facing car seat to
a booster seat. Again, NHTSA experts recommend that you leave you child
in a car seat for as long as possible, as long as they still fit within
the height and weight limitations of the particular model you chose. Some
larger children outgrow a car seat as early as age four, while smaller-sized
children may remain in a car seat as late as age seven. Once your child
outgrows a car seat, Georgia law requires them to use a booster seat until
at least age eight.
Atlanta personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Goldstein & Hayes, P.C. are committed to helping
injured accident victims recover, so please call today to if you need