In our world today, the importance of child safety seats is no secret. While you know how vital a car seat is to the safety of your babies, do you know when to change it out? The following tips will offer guidance for changing the car seat as your little one grows:
There's no panic, don't rush to change your car seats. You can use the current seat as long as your child is within the maximum weight and height limits specified on the seat's label. Remember that each seat is designed to provide the maximum amount of safety for your child in the event of a crash, and to offer protection to the neck, spine and head. Therefore, don't feel the need to dash putting your child into a larger one.
Secondly, choose rear-facing car seats until your child reaches the age of two years, for added protection in accidents. Experts suggest not using a front-facing seat until they reach this age.
Once your child reaches the set weight limit for the rear-facing car seat, you can turn the seat forward-facing if it is a convertible seat, or use a forward-facing car seat. Ensure that the forward-facing seat has a 5-point harness and a top tether for added security. If your child is growing quickly, he or she may need a forward-facing car seat with greater weight or height limits before transitioning to a booster seat.
Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat, you can switch to a belt-positioning booster seat. Ensure that the booster seat includes a vehicle lap as well as a shoulder seat belt.
Don't toss your old car seat. Give it to a friend or family member who needs it, or donate it to a thrift store. Make sure you give them all of the original parts with the seat, including the instructions, so that they can install it properly. The only time you should throw away a car seat is if it has been in an accident or is missing some of the parts. Car seats that have experienced a collision are likely to be structurally unsound. Many police departments offer car seat safety checks. This step should NOT be skipped if you are using a hand-me-down car seat, or an older model.