How do you choose the right car seat for your child?

Car travel was different fifty years ago. It would not be unusual to see drivers and their passengers smoking with the windows up, driving without seat belts and drinking alcohol before driving. With time, people realized these actions were dangerous. Laws, societal norms and cars all changed to reflect the new safety awareness.

Today, all cars have a seat belt for every passenger. Yet, these belts are for adults. That is why there is a flourishing aftermarket in child seats. To keep your child safe in a crash, you need the appropriate seat for their size.

Get the right car seat for your child’s age and height

There are three types of children’s car seats to consider. The age range is a guide, as children grow at different rates:

  • Age from birth until 2: A rear-facing seat is essential. These go on the rear seat of your car.
  • Age from 2 until 5: A forward-facing child seat. These also go in the rear.
  • Age 5 until 12: A booster seat allows the child to sit high enough to use the standard seat belt. It avoids the seat belt sitting across their neck or being above their head. Remember, for the seat belt to work, both the lap strap and shoulder strap need to be in place. That is why you no longer see new cars come with lap belts.

If you have any doubts about installing your child’s seat, consider buying from a shop that will fit it. Hand-me-downs can be acceptable to use, providing they have not been in a crash or have damage. To be sure, buy a new one.

Children’s bodies are not yet as strong as yours. If you are in a car crash, they run a high chance of injury. A child seat cannot prevent a car crash, yet it can help protect your child from the consequences.