Unless you plan walking home your baby from the hospital, the car seat is a must-have when a baby is born.
It is one of the most important purchases you will make for your baby because a car seat can reduce the risk of injury by 82% and the risk of death by 28% when the vehicle crashes, according to a study made by AAA’s Car Seat Guide.
In case of a sudden stop, swerve or crash, seat belts and car seats protects a baby’s spinal cord and brain.
For the seat car to comply with all its protective purposes, it has to be appropriate for your child’s size and age and it has to be installed properly.
Here are three tips that will help you when selecting the right car seat for your child:
- Read your owner's manual carefully
To see exactly where the car seat should go and how it should be installed read the vehicle’s manual very carefully. With it you will ensure a better buying experience.
There are two types of car seats depending on the way you want to attach it to the car, seat belt and LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children). Before buying you can decide which one you want to use, and then look for the seat based on your preference.
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While deciding, think about what is the easiest way of installation for you and the type of car you have. If you decide LATCH, make sure you know where the system is situated in your car.
- Correct seat for your child's age, weight and height
Newborns need to start with a rear-facing seat. It is designed to support the baby’s delicate head and neck. The chair will put the child back into its seat during any impact, instead of pushing it out of it. When your baby’s head is within 1 inch of the top of the seat, you will know it has outgrown the rear-facing seat.
The Forward-facing seats are designed for children who are at least 2-years or have reached the height and weight capacity (normally over 9 kilos) indicated in the car seat manual. When the middle of the baby’s head is above the top of the seat you will know it is time to upgrade the toddler to a new car seat.
Booster Seats are for all children whose weight or height exceeds the limit for their car seats. Its purpose is positioning the child in a way the car belt can fit properly. Normally when children turn 12 years of age are ready to use the seat belt without the need of a car seat.
- Avoid buying second-hand seat cars
We recommend abstaining from second-hand car seats because you never know about its history. It can look fine and new but if it was involved in an accident, it might have internal damage that is not visible.
Second-hand seats are likely to be older and not designed for current standard cars, which means it can provide less protection for your kid. However, if you decide to go the second-hand way, make sure it comes with the original instructions and check its expiration date.