Every year, sadly many children and infants die or are badly injured in car accidents. In most of these cases, this occurs because they were not properly restrained or seated. Parents can prevent tragedies like this by simply educating themselves on child passenger safety and fitting their car with an appropriate child seat. Moreover, there are laws in each state that dictate the rules and regulations that pertain to child passenger safety issues. Read on to learn more about how to keep your child safe while travelling in the car.
Benefits of Safety Seats
By far, the most important advantage of using child safety seats in the car is for their personal protection. Year after year, statistics show that safety seats not only save children’s lives, but also prevent major injuries. Since child safety seats are created for different age groups, parents can be sure that the seat is made to suit their child’s physical size. Apart from this, safety seats also offer a great deal of peace of mind for the parents. They can continue driving, knowing that their child is secure in the back of the vehicle. On a secondary level, there are also economic benefits. By preventing tragic occurrences in the first place, parents can avoid having to deal with sky-high insurance and medical costs.
Are You Using Your Safety Seat Properly?
While it is good to start using car safety seats for kids, that intention is somewhat useless if the seats are not used correctly. Many parents make the mistake of using feeder chairs or other seats that are intended for home use. Always make sure to use a car safety seat for children that is manufactured by a reliable brand. The child seat should always be in the back of the car. When you start shopping for one, examine the age groups that it fits and estimate whether your child can comfortably stay seated in it. Look through the instruction manual thoroughly and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on how to attach the seat. Some models use the car’s seat belt, while others use the LATCH system. When you put your child in the seat, check that they are comfortable. The belts and buckles should be snug, but should not pinch their bodies. If there is a lot of loose space for the child to move around, even after the harness has been secured, use small rolls of cloth (such as towels or a blanket) to fill up the spaces. This will ensure that the child will not move around if the car stops suddenly. However, make sure not to put large or thick layers of cloth behind or under the child. For infants, it is also very common to have extra space between the buckle that harnesses over the groin area. In this event, a small rolled cloth placed under the buckle will help to minimize this effect. A good guideline is to continue using the safety seat for your child for as long as they can still fit in it and fall within the height and weight guidelines. It is normal for babies to have rear-facing seats, and toddlers or slightly older children to have booster seats. Each year, it is also important to have a professional inspect the safety seat at a certified inspection station. There are several such stations in each state.