Driving is the most common form of commuting these days. However, just like all other forms of traveling, even driving is not 100% safe. While the standard seat belts in cars are strong enough to take care of the adults, for children, the safety procedures need to be more precise and adaptable to their overall size, age and weight.
Child Safety Seats:
Just pulling a seat belt over your child will not keep him safe, instead, it could be more injurious to him. That is why there are special child safety seats that are available in the market to take care of children right from the infant stage till they become young adults.
The Top Things to know for Child Safety Seats
There are different seats for children of different age groups.
- For infants and toddlers, it is recommended that only rear facing or rear-facing convertibles are used till they complete two years of age, or reach the maximum age or height that is recommended by the manufacturer.
- Toddlers and pre-schoolers can be placed in a convertible or forward facing ones with a harness. Once they have outgrown the requirements specified in point no. 1, they can be placed in these, till they reach the maximum weight or height limit specified by the seat maker.
- There are booster seats for school-going children. It comes with belt positioning. They can carry on with this, until the car seat belt fits them properly.
- For older children, seat belts can be used with lap and shoulder seat belts for maximum protection.
To ensure that the car seats are installed and used correctly, the authorities introduced the LATCH restraint system. After 2002, most of the cars have to be LATCH compatible which means that there must be special metal rods for the seat to be attached easily.
Safety Belt Information:
Since children can generally sit in the car seat and use the seat belt by the time they are 8, it does not mean that the seat belt cannot be used for their safety before that. Most of the times, seat belts are used to secure the special child safety seat in place.
Around the age of 4, children are too old for forward-facing safety seats but not old enough for the standard seat belt. So booster seats can be used in conjunction with the seatbelt.
Generally, when a child can start wearing the car’s seat belt does not depend on his age but his height and size. When a child reaches the height of 4 feet and 9 inches, he can be protected just by the seat belt and additional seats won’t be necessary.
Where to Position Children:
It is for the safety of the children that they ride in the backseat and not in the front seat. It is only once they reach the size of an adult that they can ride on the front. All kinds of special child safety seats are placed in the back seat since the air bags, that get deployed in the event of an accident can cause damage to children.
There are several kinds of seats that parents will have to buy as their children cross the different age and height limits – from rear-facing ones, to forward facing ones and booster seats. Parents must be careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions so that they rest assured that they are doing the best they can to ensure the safety of their children.