The safety seat is one of the most important safety pieces you can own. Not only is it protecting your child, but also it is likely helping you have peace-of-mind while driving. There is no substitute for having a proper safety seat that can be trusted. And while there are many types of seats (and of course many types of cars) the general principle of installation tends to be the same.
If your child is under the age of two, then you will want to install the seat in a rear-facing position. The rear-facing position is the most secure and safe position for infants and young toddlers. Once the child reaches the age of two, you can turn the seat to a forward-facing position. Both the rear-facing and forward-facing seats should be placed in the center of the back seat. Placing the seats on either side is both not as safe overall, and also exposes your child to the sun more readily. In the case of an accident, glass is more likely to strike the child as well. A booster seat is to be used once the child reaches the children weighing between 40 and 100 pounds, or height of four-foot nine inches.
Installing a car seat for your child can change depending upon the type of car that you have. Most modern cars have a Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system in the center console of the rear seat. Most cars manufactured after 2002 should be equipped with the LATCH system. There should be a five-point safety harness that can be utilized.
The seat should be flat against the seat. There should not be one end or another raised higher or lower. The bottom and back should both be flat against the car. Always check instructions for proper angles and positioning if you are unsure. If your seat is a bit lumpy or fitted, press it to relax the cushioning and then set down the seat.
If you have an older model, then you likely do not have a LATCH system. If this is the case, then you will need to make sure that belt is threaded through the proper slots in the seat. Tighten the belt so there is no slack. Some belts can have difficulty keeping taught. In these cases, a bungee cord can be used for extra support.
Always check to make sure your seat is wholly secure. Try moving it from side-to-side as well as back-and-forth to be sure. If it is still loose, try resetting the belt and bungee if necessary. Of course your child’s safety is the most important thing for you. You can check the NHTSA websites for information on the best car seats, as well as the SafteyBeltSafe USA’s website for lots of information regarding seats, seatbelts, and general safety.
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