What To Do With Your Old Car Seat
What About Their Legs
Many parents express concern about the fact that their child seems cramped or that their legs must be folded before they have reached the maximum height or weight for their rear-facing seat.
Children can safely sit with their legs crossed, extended, or hanging over the sides of their rear-facing seat. Leg injuries for rear-facing children are very rare, according to the AAP.
When Can A Child Start To Use A Booster Seat
A child is ready for a booster seat when they have outgrown the height or weight limit of their 5-point harness car seat. This is usually when they reach over 65 pounds or 49 inches. You can check your car seat’s manual for its height and weight limits and if it can be converted to a booster seat.
There is no one age that means your child is ready to switch from a car seat to a booster seat. Generally, kids are between the ages of 5-9 when they begin to outgrow the weight limitations of a 5-point harness car seat. Before you make the move to a belt-positioning booster seat, make sure your child meets these requirements:
- Generally, kids weighing over 65 pounds are ready to switch to a booster seat.
- When your child reaches 49 inches tall.
- When you believe your child is mature enough to properly sit in a booster seat with the seat belt correctly positioned at all times.
It’s important not to rush the switch to a booster seat. If your child still fits the height and weight requirements of their car seat, that is their safest option.
Also Check: How To Drive A Car For The First Time
Baby Safety Guide For New Parents
One of the most overwhelming things about becoming a parent is realizing just how many things inside your home pose a danger to your baby. Even the most innocuous of items can become a threat, and things get even trickier once your little one becomes mobile. Its because of this that baby proofing is standard practice for new parents. Between 6-12 months, they start to crawl and get into everything and anything. With their instinct to mouth every item they can get their hands on, anything small enough to lodge in their airway becomes a choking hazard. They might pull down chairs and other heavy objects, open drawers and cabinets, and find danger wherever it may lie. Although covering sharp edges, installing baby gates, and placing latches on your kitchen cabinets are all necessary steps toward creating an environment in which your baby can safely explore, there are also other bases you should cover before your baby is born to ensure their health and safety. Babies are naturally curious creatures, and should never be underestimated in their ability to get into all sorts of trouble. Because September is National Baby Safety Month, its a perfect time to brush up on some of these major safety tips. Remember, you can never be too careful when protecting your little one.
When To Switch Car Seats
Its a good time to be a kid in a car. Cars and car seats both continue to get safer, and child vehicle fatalities are down. Much of the effectiveness of a car seat rests in its specificity: A car seat needs to be the right fit and size for the kid and their developmental stage. But with so many car seats out thereand often numerous possible configurations, depending on the childs ageit can be daunting to choose which seat to get and when to get it. Most families will use three different seats as their child grows: an infant seat, a convertible seat, and a booster seat. Heres a rundown of the different types of seats, as well as the checklists to follow when youre trying to determine whether your kid has outgrown their current seat and is ready for the next one.
Also Check: Can I Turn In My Car Lease Early
Choosing A Child Car Seat Or Booster Seat
A childs developmental stage, weight and height can help determine what type of child car seat is best suited for them:
|Type of car seat|
|Up to 9 kg||None|
Rear-facing child car seat, if the manufacturer recommends its use
|Under the age of 8||18-36 kg||Under 145 cm tall|
Your child can use a seatbelt alone when they reach any of the following milestones:
- turns 8 years old
- weighs 36 kg
- reaches a height of 145 cm or more
Follow recommendations from the manufacturer
Its safest to keep your child in a child car seat or booster seat until they reach the maximum weight and height limits of the child car seat.
Most child car seats do not allow the use of aftermarket products and advise to not dress the child in bulky clothing or sports gear as it can compromise the fit of the harness.
Always follow the recommended use set out by the manufacturer.
Watch a video
Watch this video for tips on choosing, installing and checking that a child car seat meets safety standards:
Never Allow A Child To Sit Up Front
Until age 13, all children should sit in the proper car seat in the back seat, even if they are forward-facing or in a booster seat. Because passenger seat airbags were designed for adults, they pose a great risk to small children. The amount of force from a deploying airbag can cause significant injuries to the head and neck.
Don’t Miss: What Is Torque In Car
When Should You Change Car Seats
Nobody wants to think about an accident. But in the event of the unthinkable, car seats are vital for keeping babies and children safe.
In 2017, restraint use saved the lives of 325 children aged 4 and under, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . So its crucial to make sure your backseat rider is in the right seat for her size, and that the seat is in tip-top shape.
So when should you make the move from one seat to the next, and what other car seat change-up scenarios should you be keeping in mind? If any of the following apply to your childs car seat, its time for an upgrade or replacement.
My Take On What Car Seat You Should Buy
Even as consumer reports recommend that you switch to a convertible car seat sooner rather than later, you can still enjoy the benefits of the infant car seat while still keeping your child safe.
Even if you have to spend more money when shifting to a convertible car seat later, the convenience of an infant car seat is worth the money.
Recommended Reading: How To Measure Car Speakers
When To Stop Using A Booster Seat
Step 1: Check the weight/height limitation of your seat
If your booster seat is approved to ECE R44-04, you have to stop using your seat once the maximum weight has been reached, which is 36 kg based on the regulation.If your booster seat is approved to UN R129, you have to stop using the seat once the maximum height has been reached, which is 150 cm based on the regulation.
Step 2: Check your national laws
Each country has own regulations regarding until when a child car seat has to be used. In the UK you are required to use a child car seat until your child is either 12 years old or 135 cm tall whichever is reached first. In Ireland, children are required to sit in a child car until either 12 years old or 150 cm tall.
Step 3: Check how your child sits in the car without a child car seat
In addition to step 1 and 2, you can do the 5-point check to see if your childs body would be ready to sit in your car without a child car seat. If one of these 5 points is not reached yet, your child should still sit in a booster seat:
Children Are Built Differently
Dr. Segura points out that children are not just little adults. “Their bodies are differently proportioned and structured, and this difference affects their ability to tolerate the whiplash motion.”
The reason, she explains, is because a baby’s head makes up 25 percent of their body, whereas an adult’s head only makes up 6 percent. “A rear-facing baby, instead of pulling forward with four times as much force as an adult’s, will slide gently up into the back of car seat,” she adds.
Recommended Reading: How Long Do I Have To Register My Car
The Child Is Too Big For The Car Seat
This is the most obvious reason to change your childs seat. The first goal is to keep your child in the most protective type of seat available for their height and weight. Granted, this should not mean keeping them in a rear-facing seat if their heads are above the back of the car seat. But dont be in a rush to move to the next car seat. The more protection against a crash or collision, the better.
When Can A Child Stop Using A Booster Seat
Texas law requires that all children use a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4 feet, 9 inches tall. Even if your child is 8 and it is legal for them to stop using a booster seat, if they are under 4 feet 9 inches tall, you should continue to use a booster seat to keep your child safe. When your child reaches the height requirement, the seat belt will fit them safely and comfortably.
Children should always travel in the back seat of the car, never the front, until they are 13 years old. They should always have the seat belt on their chest, never around their back. The lap belt should rest against their hips, and the shoulder belt should rest in the middle of their shoulder. If it doesn’t, you should keep using the booster seat.
Recommended Reading: Where’s The Nearest Car Wash
When To Change The Earliest From A Toddler Car Seat To A Booster Seat
We at BeSafe advise you to keep your child rear facing for as long as possible or at least until the age of four. Therefore, we recommend you to move your child to a booster seat only when all three of the following conditions are met:
When To Change The Earliest From An Infant Carrier To A Toddler Seat
We at BeSafe recommend you to use an infant carrier for as long as possible, as it gives you as a parent flexibility and offers your baby great side protection. However, you might consider changing to a toddler car seat earlier. In these cases, we recommend you to only change to a toddler car seat when your baby can sit by themselves, as toddler car seats typically are more upright and give a bit less stability than infant carriers.
Depending on which toddler seat you are choosing, make sure that your child has reached the minimum requirement of that seat. Based on its regulation, this can either be a minimum weight or a minimum height.
Read Also: How To Fix A Dead Cell In A Car Battery
When To Change The Latest From An Infant Carrier To The Toddler Seat
Step 1: Check the weight/height limitation of your seat
If your infant carrier is approved to ECE R44-04, then your seat has a maximum weight based on its approval. This maximum weight must not be exceeded. But this does not mean that you can always use your infant carrier until you have reached this maximum weight, often babies outgrow their seat in height before they reach the weight. For this, check step 2!
If your infant carrier is approved to UN R129, then it has a maximum height given by its approval. This maximum height must not be exceeded. In most cases, the maximum height marks the end of when you can use the seat, but in addition, also check step 2!
Step 2: Check the shoulder belts and distance to the top of the seat
When the uppermost point of the babys head is approx. 2 fingers away from the highest point of the seat shell, you should change to a toddler seat. Ideally, you should look for toddler seats already some time before your baby has reached this point. This 2-finger-distance is recommended since it includes a buffer for upwards movement in case of an accident. Such a movement can happen if the belts are not perfectly tightened. Even though we know that parents do their best to always tighten the belts correctly, it can happen when in a rush or if the baby moves a lot that the belts are not as tight as they should be.
When Is It Time For A Forward
You put a lot of thought into your newborns rear-facing car seat. It was a key item on your baby registry and how you got your little one safely home from the hospital.
Now that your baby isnt such a baby anymore though, youre starting to wonder if its time for a forward-facing car seat. Perhaps your little one has already reached the weight and height limit for their rear-facing seat and youre wondering whats next.
Or maybe theyre not at the size limits just yet, but you think enough time has passed and youd like to know if you can flip them around to face forward.
Whatever your situation, weve got you covered with info on when its recommended to use a forward-facing car seat as well as some tips to make sure that youre getting it installed properly.
Don’t Miss: How Much To Insure A Car
Should You Wait To Switch
If you can wait to switch you should, as kids are safer in 5-point harness car seats than in boosters. The truth is that any step up in car seatsfrom rear-facing to forward-facing, from the harness to boosteris actually a step down in safety. The 5-point harness spreads crash forces over more points on a child’s body, lessening the potential force any one part of the body must take in a crash.
While some high-back booster seats have a minimum weight of 30 pounds, kids should weigh at least 40 pounds before riding in any booster seat.
From a practical standpoint, it is easier to have the child sit properly when in a car seat than in a booster, which is important because it keeps kids safely contained and limits distraction to the driver. In a booster, the child can unbuckle themselves more easily. They can also lean and slouch, which is dangerous. They can’t do that in a car seat when the 5-point harness is properly adjusted.
The seatbelt cannot protect a child who is not in the proper position. Most children cannot be expected to sit routinely properly until at least five years old.
Many parents find that their child is actually much older than four before they can be expected to sit still in a booster. If your vehicle has lap-only seatbelts in the rear seats, keep your child in a harnessed car seat as long as possible. Harnessed seats can be installed with a lap-only belt.
Increased Risk Of Severe Injuries
One of the most recent studies on car seat safety, published in SAE International in 2018, found that rear-facing car seats can significantly reduce infant and toddler fatalities and injuries in frontal, side-impact, and rear-impact crashes. Since rear-impact collisions account for more than 25 percent of all accidents, the study’s goal was to determine whether children were truly safer even when facing the direction of the crash.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration , rear-end collisions make up about 29 percent of all traffic accidents that result in injury.
The researchers and engineers, who conducted the study at Ohio State College of Medicines Injury Biomechanics Research Center, discovered that even when rear-facing, children were safer from severe injuries during a rear-end collision. Rear-facing car seats support the childs head, neck, and spine while absorbing crash forces and keeping vulnerable body parts well-protected.
Don’t Miss: How Soon Can I Refinance My Car Loan
When To Stop Using Your Toddler Seat The Latest
Step 1: Check the weight/height limitation of your seat
If your toddler seat is approved to UN R129, you have to stop using your seat once the maximum height of your seat according to its approval is reached. In addition, ISOfix-installed UN R129 seats also have a weight limitation which you can find on your seats approval sticker and/or user manual. It is time to change to another seat once your child has reached one of the two limitations, whichever comes first.
If your toddler seat is approved to ECE R44-04, the seat has a maximum weight which you can find on your seats approval sticker and user manual. Once your child has reached this maximum, you have to change. However, practically you might not always be able to use the seat until the maximum weight as your child can outgrow the seat in height before. Check step 2 for this!
Step 2: Check the shoulder belts and ear-to-headrest level
When the top of childs ears reaches the highest point of the headrest, it is high time to change.
Additionally, check how the shoulder belts are sitting on your childs shoulders and what your seats user manual advises about this. Many manufacturers say that the shoulder belts should not come from below your childs shoulders. So if the shoulder belts are not coming straight onto the shoulders anymore when having the headrest/belts in the highest setting, then its time to change as well.