You know you when you need your brake pads replaced, but do you know how to safely transport your new baby in your vehicle?
Expecting parents should be aware of these three safety specs to consider when selecting the right type of child safety seat.
Type of seat
To decide what type of seat is most appropriate for your child, you first need to familiarize yourself with the various types of child safety seats. Here's a primer:
- Infant seat: A small, portable “bucket-type” seat that should be installed facing the rear of your vehicle. Usually, this type of seat snaps securely into a base that remains in the car and can also be used in a compatible stroller so infants can be easily transported.
- Convertible seat: This versatile seat can be used for children of various ages and sizes, so it reduces your need to switch safety seats as your child grows. Convertible seats can also be used in both forward-facing and rear-facing positions.
- All-in-one seat: This enhanced type of convertible seat also transforms into a booster. With this device, parents can purchase just one seat that can be safely used until the child is old enough to ride without a booster.
- Booster seat: Designed for older children, this seat positions the seat belt correctly over the child's shoulder. High-backed boosters are usually appropriate for preschoolers while backless boosters are used for older children.
Once you choose a seat, refer to your auto repair manual to install it correctly. Most modern vehicles are outfitted with the LATCH system, designed to make it easy for parents to securely clip in their child's safety seat.
Each car seat is labeled with its height and weight limits for both forward-facing use and rear-facing use where appropriate. Check regularly to make sure that your child is still in the right seat and position for his or her current height and weight.
Most forward-facing convertible seats with a five-point harness can accommodate children who weigh up to 65 pounds.
Children should remain in a rear-facing infant or convertible seat for as long as possible according to current federal safety recommendations. Keep your child rear-facing until at least age 2 or longer if he or she still meets the rear-facing requirements for the specific safety seat.
Forward-facing convertible seats are appropriate until a child turns 5 as long as he or she is still within the size limits for the specific seat. After that, use a booster seat until your child is at least 57 inches tall and the seat belt fits correctly over his or her shoulder.
Children should remain in the back seat of the car until at least age 12, and rear-facing seats should never be placed in the front seat as a child can be severely injured if the airbag becomes engaged.
In addition to using the right safety seat, following recommended maintenance schedules for your vehicle also helps keep you and your children safe on the road. Use the AutoZone app to make sure you never miss a required oil change or tire rotation.