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Car Seats

Car Seats - Top 10 Questions

Car seats are often referred to as safety seats. And that's exactly what they are -- designed specifically for the safety and preservation of your child. We all know how precious our children are to us, and we need to know as much as we can about all the safety issues that surround them. So here are the top 10 questions asked by parents about child car safety seats.

1. Why should I put my child in a car seat?

Have you ever been to a baby shower and seen the delight in an expectant mother's eyes when she gets a baby car seat for a present? That's because, above all the great gifts she gets, that'll be the one that gives the most important thing -- life protection.

And that's why you should always put your child in a child safety seat. In case of a crash, your child will be protected from injury or death -- but only as long as you've followed all instructions in placing your baby and the baby seat in the proper position, including tethering it securely.

2. How long should I keep my child in a rear-facing safety seat?

In the back seat, facing the rear, is the only place your child should be placed until it reaches one year old, or weighs 20 pounds. A baby's bone and muscle structure isn't strong enough to absorb the impact of a crash in any other position in your vehicle.

This type of car seat, in this position, has been proven to protect the baby's spine. Remember, a baby's bones are still soft at that age. The neck can stretch up to 2 inches, but the spine will only stretch 1/4 of an inch. Many experts say it's important to keep your child in a rear-facing safety seat as long as possible.

3. What is the safest carseat?

All child car safety seats are designed for maximum protection in a crash. All carseats are safety-inspected. All car seats are tested over and over again. If you don't see some kind of authorized safety sticker on a car seat, don't buy it!

Besides that, you have a pretty good selection, and you have to decide based on which car seat best fits your vehicle and your lifestyle.

4. How old does my child have to be before I can switch to a seatbelt?

Most areas have laws pertaining to safety seats and seat belt use, but the laws differ from one area to another, so check with your local authority. U.S. national safety agencies have issued general guidelines to answer this question. Make sure your child can do all these things before using a seat belt:

  • Sit flush against the back of the seat.

  • Sit with the seat belt crossing the shoulder, not the neck or arm.

  • Sit with the knees bent comfortably at the edge of the seat.

  • Sit with the seat belt crossing the upper thighs, not the stomach.

  • Stay in that position while the vehicle is in motion.

5. Do I need to use the tether strap and LATCH system?

The tether strap and LATCH systems are an integral part of the child safety seat. Without them, the safety chair isn't a safety chair. Whether you're using a baby car seat, a convertible car seat, or a booster seat, they all need to be securely attached as per the manufacturer's instructions.

6. Do I need a separate carseat if my vehicle is equipped with an integrated child seat?

Integrated car seats are definitely convenient, but they have some drawbacks, too. In an emergency, it would be much better if your child could be removed while still in the safety seat, which you couldn't do with an integrated car seat. By keeping a child immobilized in a car seat after a crash, the likelihood of further injury is greatly decreased.

Also, integrated seats aren't as versatile as a seat you can choose yourself. The fittings and harnesses may not be compatible for you. And they don't have the side-protection that traditional car seats have.

7. Can I use a used car seat that a friend gave me?

There are a number of things you need to check before using a used car seat:

  • Has it ever been in a crash? If so, DO NOT use it; in some places, that's illegal.

  • Are all the parts intact?

  • Is it older than 10 years old? Check the manufacturer's sticker. It may not pass updated safety standards.

  • Do you have the owner's manual? (You can get one from the manufacturer.)

  • Has it been recalled? (Check with the manufacturer.)

8. Are combination systems ok to use?

Combination travel systems, consisting of car seats and strollers, are all tested and safe. In designing these systems, the manufacturers have had to sacrifice some features for them to serve their dual purpose.

9. What's the best kind of harness in a child safety seat?

There are three kinds of harnesses in car seats: the 5-point, the T-shield, and the overhead tray shield. The 5-point harness is the most recommended because it can be adjusted to the biggest range of shapes and sizes.

Safety experts don't like the idea of a shield in front of the baby's face. And the tray-shield usually isn't padded, which adds another negative to the picture. The best harness is the one that protects your child the most.

10. What brand of car seat should I buy and where should I buy it?

All brands of car seats are tested and protected, so look for the one that suits your vehicle and your use. You can choose from Century, Cosco, Eddie Bauer, Evenflo or Graco, to name a few.

The best place to shop for car seats, or for anything for that matter, is on the Internet. The Internet is a huge shopping mall with a complete selection of baby car seats, child safety seats, toddler car seats, booster seats, convertible seats -- every kind of car seat you could possibly need.

In Conclusion

Your baby is your prize possession. You need to protect it. As your child grows, you can guarantee it's long life by keeping it safe and sound. Buy the best car safety seat for your use. Make sure it's safety-inspected and approved. Make sure your child is snugly and securely fastened into the car seat.

Don't take chances with your child's life. Be a responsible parent.

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About the Author:

Arden Mellor is a successfully published freelance writer, one of experience and diversity. The knowledge brought to you through Arden's articles has been designed for simplicity. The world is much too complicated, and Arden's contribution to the world is to bring the complexities of life into a simpler arena, one that anyone and everyone can understand and use. Arden writes many informative articles on such topics as rocking baby cradles, baby shower gifts and baby diaper bags, and our wishes are that you benefit from the wisdom presented in these articles in making life simple.

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