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Child Car Safety

Apr 18, 2008
In the past few years, child safety in cars has progressed greatly. As of March, 2008 Congress is looking into passing a bill making it mandatory that all children up to the age of eight years old be placed in a appropriate safety seats whenever they are riding in a vehicle. For the present, most states require that children up to the age of five be placed in these safety seats. To purchase an appropriate child's car seat, a parent needs to find one that is designed for the child's age and weight.

For infants, there are infant-only safety seats that are designed for babies up to one year of age. These seats are designed to face backwards and come individually or can be part of a stroller system. Most models have a carrying handle that makes it easier to carry the infant to and from the vehicle while remaining in the seat. Some models come with a base that the seat snaps into which enables you to leave it right in the car. When installing these seat, make sure that the seat belt is put through it properly and that the belt is tight to hold the seat securely in place.

There are also toddler seats available. There are many varieties of these seats available. Some seats may be used front-facing or rear-facing, although most experts advise the child seat to remain rear-facing as long as the child's weight and height permit it. There are front-facing seats only. When using any seat in the front-facing position you should again make sure that the seat belt is looped through it properly and also makes sure that the seat is tilted back so the child's head is resting against the back of it and is not loping forward. There are combination forward-facing/booster seats that have a harness that fit over the child's shoulders and usually attaches between his legs. This harness helps to hold the child in place in the seat. As a child grows, this type of seat can also be used as a booster seat that the child sits in with a seat belt holding him in place so that you are able to get longer use out it.

Travel vests are also available for children between 20 to 168 pounds and are useful in vehicles that only have the lap-style seat belts.

For school-aged children, regular booster seats are available. These seats ensure that the child is sitting high enough in the vehicle for the existing shoulder and lap seat belts to fit properly. This ensures that your child can ride safely just like you do.

There are several ways to tell when your child is ready to move into the more adult-like booster seat. You should keep close track of the weight and height requirements of your present safety seat. Once your child has reached either of these measurements it is time to move him into a bigger seat. You should also consider a larger seat when his shoulders surpass the top harness slots or when his ears have reached the top of the back of your existing seat.

Child safety seats have proven to be effective protection for children in case of a car accident. If the seat is installed properly and is the appropriate type for your child's age, you can rest comfortably knowing that your child is as safe as possible.
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