Choosing a car seat can be a very overwhelming task, as there are so many out there. It is important to keep in mind that the best car seat is not necessarily the most expensive, it is the one that fits your child and your car the best. Two excellent resources to find out more information about car seats are: healthychildren.org and https://www.nhtsa.gov/parents-and-caregivers
Important facts for all car seats:
Most kids fit into a seatbelt when they are about 4’9” tall (usually this is around 10-11 years old). They should always use the lap and shoulder belt, remind kids not to put the shoulder belt behind their back or under their arm. The lap belt should fit across their upper thighs, not their stomach and the shoulder belt should be across the chest and shoulder, not the neck. Kids should be able to sit comfortably with their knees bent over the seat without slouching with their backs against the back rest.
There are products that say they help seatbelts fit better, these should not be used as they are not regulated and may be dangerous. Using the correctly fitting seat is the best way to keep your children safe in the car.
All kids should be in the backseat until they are at least 13 years old. This is because a child’s skeleton is not as solid as an adults, and the seatbelt and airbags can cause significant injury to a child younger than 13. While airbags are designed to keep teenagers and adults safe they can be very dangerous to children. The middle seat in the back is the safest. Studies have shown that children older than 13 have the same risk of injury as an adult in the front seat.
Here are a few reminders about other things to teach children when they are in driveways or around cars.
Teaching children safety around vehicles begins at a young age. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you have additional questions.