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How to choose the right car seat for your child

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

It is normal and even natural for parents to worry about the safety of their children. They may go to great lengths to protect their kids, including childproofing their homes and screening every potential childcare provider. Unfortunately, parents are sometimes less vigilant about what is arguably the single greatest threat to a child’s safety. A substantial number of severe injuries and deaths involving underage children each year are the result of car crashes.

Motor vehicles have gotten safer over the years, but companies design their safety systems based on the body of the average adult male. Children therefore do not have adequate protection when using built-in safety systems. Parents need to ensure that their children are in the right car seats. What car seat options do parents have to evaluate when choosing the best option for optimal crash protection?

Rear-facing car seats

Newborns and infants have very little muscular control. Rear-facing car seats can therefore be the difference between life and death when an infant experiences the jarring motions of a car crash. These seats provide a full harness to keep the infant firmly in place when a crash occurs. Particularly young children need to be in rear-facing car seats when they ride in motor vehicles.

Forward-facing car seats

Older children, including toddlers, can upgrade to forward-facing car seats. Like rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats have harness restraints that help keep the child firmly in place if a collision occurs. They allow the child to sit in a manner that is similar to their older siblings or parents, which can make children less opposed to the use of those car seats as they mature from infancy into early childhood.

Booster seats

Once children reach kindergarten or grade school, they become tall and heavy enough to use booster seats instead of full-restraint car seats. Booster seats lift a child and help alter where the traditional safety restraints touch their bodies. Essentially, booster seats help make the seat belts included by manufacturers in the vehicle more effective should it crash. Children often need to use booster seats until they are at least four feet and nine inches tall.

Older children who need to ride in booster seats are among those most likely to oppose these requirements. However, parents should always put the safety of their children ahead of their personal preferences. Parents who consistently use the right types of restraints can reduce the risk of injury if a motor vehicle collision occurs while their children are in the vehicle. Compliance with safety rules can also strengthen someone’s claim for compensation if their children incur injuries in a car crash.