Toddler Car Seat Safety - Different Types and Installation Tips

11/24/2011 09:51

Your doctor will stress that your child should always ride in a safety car seat, but what's best for my child. Well all situation are different and not every car seat will work for every child. So here are some tips and facts about the different types of car seats that might help you in buying the best car seat. Once your child is at least 1 year old and weighs at least 20 pounds, she can ride forward facing in her car seat. Although, studies show that it is still safer for her to ride rear facing for as long as she can comfortably do so.


There are 5 types of car safety seats that can be used forward facing.

1. Convertible seats are ones that can be used rear facing or forward facing.

2. Forward facing toddler seats can only be used forward facing with a harness. These are for children who weigh up to 80 pound. You must check the specifications on each model, because some can only be used up to 40 pounds.

3. There are car seats that can be used forward facing or as a booster. These are called a combination forward facing/booster seat. These car seats can be used forward facing for children weighing up to 40 to 65 pounds, depending on the model. They can be used as a booster car seat without the harness for children weighing up to 80 to 100 pounds.

4. Some vehicles are made with forward facing car seats built right in. Read your vehicle owner's manual to find out the weight and height limits for your particular vehicle. They will vary.

5. Travel vests are a pretty new product on the market. They are a safe alternative for forward facing child car seats. Travel vests can be useful when you have a vehicle with only lap seat belts in the back seat. They are great to move from vehicle to vehicle, so you do not have to take your car seat in and out. Travel are used for large toddlers who can no longer fit in a traditional car safety seat or for children who just simply will not stay in their car seat. They can be used for children between 20 pounds all the way up to 168 pounds.

Installation tips for forward-facing seats

1. The car safety seat must be installed tightly in the car. The harness should fit snug against your child.

2. When rear facing, the shoulder straps must be in the slot at or below your child's shoulders. To switch a convertible seat to forward facing, you must move the shoulder straps to the slots at or above your child's shoulders.

3. With some car seats you may have to adjust the angle of the seat to recline.

4. Vehicles made after 2002 should come with the LATCH system. This is used to secure car safety seats. If you have this, it should be used. It keeps the car seat more secure than an ordinary seat belt. Check your owners manual for your vehicle to find out where your tether anchors are located in your car. Use your manual for you particular safety car seat to learn how to use this system with your car seat.

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Always use your manual and your car seats specification when using and installing it. Remember, even though you think your little one is big enough to ride with just a seat belt, statistics show they are not. Even children from the age of 4 to 8 years should be in a booster seat. So keep your child safe and use a safety seat.