Tips on Buying a Child Car Seat

A car seat is one of the most important items a parent purchases. Making the purchase can be challenging because of the plethora of choices. It doesn’t have to be a difficult choice if you keep the following tips in mind.

Know the Different Types of Car Seats and Timeline for Using Them

The following is a brief guideline when it comes to the type of car seat and how long it should be used:

  • rear-facing - used from birth until about one year old (but experts recommend keeping the child in the seat as long as possible contingent upon the child meeting height/weight requirements);
  • forward-facing - used after rear-facing seat until child reaches height/weight limits of the car seat (between 4 and 7 years old); and
  • booster seat - used after forward-facing seat until child is ready (depending on height/weight) to use the vehicle’s lap and shoulder seat belts.

Experts recommend remaining in a car seat until reaching the top height/weight limits. Staying in it as long as possible is the safest choice.

Know the Different Features of a Car Seat: LATCH System

LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, which makes installation of the car seat easier. There are different types of connectors, such as hook-style and push-on style connectors. Keep in mind that the LATCH system has a weight limit (combined weight of child and seat), after which parents should use the vehicle seat belts to secure the car seat.

Know the Different Features of a Car Seat: Harness System

Some car seats include a three-point harness system, with two shoulder straps that meet at the crotch strap or a buckle in the shell. However, the five-point system provides better security:

  • two shoulder straps;
  • two straps for the thighs; and
  • the crotch strap.

Know the Different Features of a Car Seat: Recline Angles

Rear-facing seats must be correctly angled. Some car seats feature a base with multiple positions and with recline level indicators. As important as it to pick the right type of seat and to know preferred features, there are other considerations to make when buying a car seat.

Parents should be aware of child safety seat laws and how these might apply. In the event of an accident that causes injury to the child, contact Jason R. Schultz to review any legal action you might take.

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