Summer is a season of fun and outdoor activities. Children are on vacation and are out of school. People set up their backyard barbecues. It is a season when people relax and spend time with their families. While Summer does sound fun, this season is an imposition to healthcare workers that there is an increase in auto accidents. Distracted driving is something you must watch out for all year round. Especially during the Summer when the number of people out on the road is higher than usual. Hence, more accidents will happen. In this article, we will discuss child safety in cars.
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Car Accidents Involving Children
Summer is a high time for children. But the sad part about this is that they are the most often victim of car accidents during this season. Most of these children’s injuries are also fatal because they are not correctly buckled inside the car. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, more than 618,000 children were part of a car accident. This is because these children weren’t using the child safety seat or booster seat — not even a seatbelt. You can’t just ignore the number from the study. It justifies why motor vehicle injuries are the number one cause of child deaths in the United States.
Car Safety and Parenting
The realization doesn’t end there. If you think about it, many of these deaths are preventable. If only parents could double-check that their children are secure, these accidents would be preventable. It isn’t that the parents are reckless and don’t think of their children’s safety. Understandably, parenting is hard. If a mom hears her crying baby, the most common instinct is to hold the baby. Even inside a vehicle, the mom would hold the baby instead of just listening to the baby cry during the ride.
Holding the baby is a sweet and caring gesture to calm the baby down. Who would want to hear the wails of a baby inside a vehicle, anyway? But this is a small price to pay to keep your baby safe. Instead of holding the baby in the car, keeping them properly buckled in is still best. The correct way of securing your children in a vehicle has a lot of factors, including the children’s age and weight. So it is best to spend time and research on this, depending on your child.
Parents aren’t alone in this. Most states make an effort to implement laws that would help minimize car accidents involving children in their area. These states have seat belt laws for people in and out of their locations. The seat belt law covers various age groups, from adults to young adults, from infants to toddlers, and children.
Remember that accidents can happen at any time of the day. You cannot undo the past. It is best to make child safety in cars or elsewhere your top priority and take time to keep your loved ones safe.
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Car Seat Tips
Any parent would want the best for their child. Taking care of a child is already exhausting. Aside from that, you also need to consider their safety in different situations. Learning about car seats for children can be overwhelming, too. There are other products that you can choose from based on your preference. You would feel lost with all the options.
To help you start your car seat for children’s journey, here are a couple of tips to make it easier.
Three Types of Car Seats:
The regular infant-only car seat. This car seat is best for children weighing 5 to 40 pounds. The car seat is also in a semi-reclined rear-facing way. A rear-facing car seat is usually small and easy to carry around. Most models of rear-facing only car seats have a detachable base. This base may stay in the car while carrying the car seat around.
Parents can buy multiple bases and place them on different vehicles. This way, parents don’t have to carry bulky car seats in every vehicle. This car seat is only for traveling and nothing else. Always be mindful of the manufacturer’s notes on the car seat. The rear-facing only car seat can usually last up to three years for a baby.
Once a baby outgrows the rear-facing only car seat, a forward-facing only car seat is next. A forward-facing-only car seat has a higher height and weight limit and is bulkier than rear-facing car seats. This means that a child can use the forward-facing only car seat longer than the rear-facing one. It’s also bulkier since it’s used with a harness and top tether for extra protection.
Booster seat or belt-positioning seat
For children of school age, it’s now time for them to upgrade to a booster seat in a vehicle. If a forward-facing only car seat comes with a harness and top tether, a booster seat has lap and shoulder belts. There are two types of booster seats that a parent can choose from. A high-back booster seat and a backless booster seat. Some models can remove the high backs to make them backless, too.
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Picking Out The Right Seat
To choose the best car seat for child safety, consider the following tips:
- Aside from the basic use and features of the car seat, check out the extra features too. Car seats for children are meant to give convenience to parents and safety for their children. Getting your money’s worth with a car seat that can do more than the others is fine.
- Read the manufacturer’s label regarding the recommended height, weight, and age for each car seat that you’ll buy. Make sure to get a car seat that matches your child. This is meant to narrow your choices and ensure your child is securely restrained.
- Buy new car seats. There are used car seats for sale that you can find on the Internet. It is still best to purchase new ones to ensure that it has no damage. You wouldn’t want to risk child safety just to save a few bucks. Safety comes with a cost, but it is worth it.
- Remember to register the car seat. Manufacturers allow customers to register their car seats to give alerts regarding safety recalls.
Installing Your Car Seat Correctly
After buying the car seat, all that’s left to do is install it correctly. Failing to install the car seat properly could make it useless and cause more injuries.
Read the owner’s manual of your chosen car seat properly and review it before and during installation.
Find the safest spot.
Position your child’s seat in the back seat and buckle it with a seatbelt. It is the safest spot for a child’s car seat in the backseat.
You can use the vehicle’s seat belt to fasten and attach the car seat to the vehicle. Aside from the seat belt, you can also use the lower anchors or tethers. Car seats are meant to be fastened in a car. So feel free to use your car’s amenities to secure your child’s car seat.
Test the car seat
You don’t need to sit on the car seat to test it. Make sure the car seat won’t budge an inch if you try to pull the seat belt. The car seat, either front-facing or rear-facing, shouldn’t move or wiggle on all sides – front, back, and two sides.
Go to a professional
If you struggle with installing the car seat to your vehicle, go to your local fire department. You can also search the Internet for nearby car seat inspection stations. These establishments and organizations would help you in installing your car seat. They are trained to install car seats and ensure they are 100% secure and properly installed in your motor vehicle.
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Finding The Right Fit For Your Child
Checking the manufacturer’s manual for the advised weight, age, and height is just one thing you should look for. A couple more things to consider to ensure your child fits right into the car seat.
- A car seat with a five-point harness is advised for the best protection. This five-point harness should have straps that go over both shoulders and hips. And usually, this buckles at the crotch.
- Adjusting the straps as your child grows is something you should also do. This is also stated in the manufacturer’s manual for child safety.
- The harness comes in different forms, and belt placements are everywhere. Use the correct harness and belt placements for the car seat.
- Once you’re done fastening your child to the seat, do the seat test again. Remember that it should not budge or wiggle an inch if you try to move it. You can try pinching the harness at the shoulder to test – if your fingers slide off, the seat is secure. Otherwise, the harness is loose, and you must re-do it to fasten it securely. Tight and snug car seats are the best for your child’s safety.
When To Change Seats
- Wait until your child reaches the age limit based on the car seat’s manual.
- A baby should use rear-facing only car seats until the age of 2.
- As your child’s physique changes and ages, make sure to change the type of car seat you are using too. This is to fit your child and ensure safety.
- Moving to a booster seat is more than just age, weight, and height. Observe your child and ensure they are still in the car seat. They are ready to move into the booster seat if they do so. If not, keep them in a forward-facing only car seat until they are ready.
Can’t Afford A Baby Car Seat?
There is no excuse not to get a car seat for your child’s safety. To protect their people, the government has programs that give out free car seats. It is not only limited to the government. There are also charities, church programs, and many other resources throughout the United States.
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