Car Seats For Your Baby’s Safety

March 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Baby Gear

If there’s one thing that parents really care about for their baby’s safety, it’s the quality of the car seat they buy. Even so, a study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that eighty percent of baby car seats are either improperly fitted or misused.

Widespread faults in child car safety include loose harness straps and wrongly fastened safety belt attachments. According to the NHTSA, these errors are defined as ‘critical’ since the possibility of grave injury in case of an accident is much higher than usual. So although parents think their children are perfectly safe in car seats, they could be wrong!

In any case, how can you be 100% certain that your baby’s safety is assured in the car?

First of all, you need to be sure that the car seat you buy is the right type specified for your baby’s age and weight. Make sure it’s facing the right way before you fasten it. One of your options in this case is the multi-purpose car seat, which can be safely fitted to face either direction, and is equipped for fitting changes as the baby grows bigger.

Babies who are less than a year old and weigh in at 20 lb or lower must have backward facing car seats. Also, please make a note that all child car seats must always be fitted to the back seat of your car!

Also available are infant seats for very young babies. These are essentially intended to be rear-facing, so you’re going to need a new car seat as your baby grows older. These are, however, much better for smaller babies since they form a snug fit for the baby, and are much easier to carry and store due to their size. You can even use your car seat if you go out to dine in restaurants!

Convertible car seats offer another option to parents. These car seats are adjustable to fit both babies as well as toddlers. However, they are quite heavy, and once fitted, are best left in the car. For babies, this car seat must be fitted facing backwards. And once your baby crosses the one year mark, the seat should be turned to face the front. A convertible car seat generally holds up to 40 lb of weight.

The most important factor when it comes to car seats is the fitting. The car seat holding your baby has to be perfectly fitted, and for this, you will require the instruction manual for the seat as well as the manufacturer’s fact sheet. Be very precise when fitting the seat, and ensure that it is properly done. Read the guide well, so that you can install and secure the harnessing straps properly.

If you’re not sure about the way the seat has been fitted, it’s best to get it tested by a qualified technician. If you stay in the United States, you can locate any child safety seat inspection center in your neighbourhood by visiting the website

If you have a cat seat which has already been used by another child, it’s imperative that you consider its age and condition. Sometimes, seats that have already passed through several babies or been in accidents are no longer safe for your baby. A car seat which has crossed the five year mark after manufacture must not be used.

When you are gifted a second-hand car seat, ensure that the manufacturer’s instruction manual is included. If it isn’t, try to get it on the web, so that you can find out if any of the seat parts are missing. If you can’t locate the manual, don’t use the seat. There’s no point in taking risks with your baby.

After all, in the event of an accident, your baby’s safety must always come first. Remember that when you’re looking for the right car seat for your baby!