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Car Seats: Which is Right for your Child?

August 8, 2011

I was watching Mad Men the other day and realized that Betty, the mother, had been holding her child in the front seat as her husband was driving.  Today, this would be simply unacceptable.  We know that leaving your baby unstrapped is out of the question, and to have it in the front seat is against the law.  But how do we know which car seat is best for each age?

There are three different seats – rear facing, front facing and booster seat.  In 2009 a guideline came out stating that infants and toddlers should be in rear facing car seats.  This is also beneficial to parents because one can sit in the back seat with the baby and face them while driving.  Many doctors are recommending that your child remain in the rear-facing seat until they out grow the height and weight limit.

Most children will out grow the limit by age 2 and now need to be in a front-facing seat.  These seats normally have a harness, which is extremely important to a child’s safety.  Again a child should stay in this seat until they out grow the height and weight limit.

The last seat is the booster seat.  This is mainly to adjust a child’s height to the correct place on the seat belt so it cuts across them at the correct angle.  Seat belts are made for 4 feet 9 inch children.  After this height the seat belt should hit them at the correct angle as to protect them and not hurt them.  Once your child reaches this height they will be able to sit in the car without any extra seats.

It is highly recommended that a child does not sit in the front seat before the age of 13 for height and weight reasons.  If your child is sitting in the front seat make sure that they are heavy enough to set the airbags off and that they are tall enough to not get hurt by them.

While traveling in the car be sure to check where the sun is on your child.  If it may be hitting them there are window screens to block some of the light, but most importantly apply sunscreen and a hat.

Be sure to double-check all the buckles are buckled, and that your child will not be in the sun!

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