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Car seat safety is a serious issue. While car seats have seen many improvements through the years, there’s still a lot a parent needs to know and do to make sure it will properly protect their child. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends children be in a rear-facing car seat until the age of three, and a forward-facing car seat or a booster seat until at least age eight.
Be conscious of the backseat conditions
The Florida sun is potent and it can easily burn adults skin through car windows, so a baby’s skin definitely needs extra protection. Be sure to use a shade for the window or windows that your child is near. Going on a long trip? Consider using some baby skin block to make sure the child is protected. Make sure the A/C or heat vents are not positioned directly on the child as too much heat or air could make the child very uncomfortable. Finally, get a rear car seat mirror that will allow you to see your baby while in the rear facing position. There are also mirrors to attach to the driver’s rear view mirror for when the child is forward-facing.
Try to avoid extra tears and don’t wait until the last minute to put your kid in car seat. Babies have a mind of their own so even if you make the baby’s new car seat as comfortable as possible, your baby may not like its new conditions. Even if you are not comfortable with taking your baby into public places, you can introduce your baby to a car seat by driving around the block a few times.
Check for recalls
Before buying a car seat or adding it to your baby registry, check for past recalls. The NHSTA has a comprehensive list of all the car seat recalls from the last ten years and the most recent recall was from 2015.
Car Seat Inspection
The state of Florida has 57 locations where parents can get instructions on how to install and use their car seat. All of these locations have a registered certified technician and many of them are at local fire departments and police stations and are free.
Used Car Seats
It is essential for the original car seat labels to be on each car seat that way parents can determine if the seat is too old or if there have ever been any recalls on the seat. Additionally, it is also very important to know if a car seat has ever been in a car accident. The impact and force absorbed by a car seat in an accident could have been too severe to continue keeping the baby safe.
Type of car seats
There are three different types of car seats: rear-facing, forward-facing and booster seats. Rear-facing seats are the only type of seats that should be used for infants and are recommended to use until the child turns 3 years old. After your child reaches a certain age, height or weight, children can begin using forward-facing car seats or booster seats.
For more information on car seat safety, visit the NHSTA’s informational website dedicated entirely to car seat safety. http://www.safercar.gov/parents/index.htm