Global baby car seat market size from 2017 to 2021 (in Million USD)
types of car seat
There are four types of car seats you can use for your child. The three criteria to determine which is best for you are:
The size (height and weight) of your child
The size of your car
One you can install correctly each time
As a general rule, you should keep your child in a car seat for as long as possible (as long as your child still meets the seat’s height and weight requirements). A car seat is, everything else being equal, safer for a child than not being in a car seat. In addition, your child should remain in the back seat of the car until the age of 12.
Car Seats and Child’s Age
Age is often used as a general determinant of the correct car seat, because it can correlate with height and weight. However, this is not always the case for children so consider age as a general guideline, but use your child’s height and weight to hone what is best for them specifically. The chart below shows the recommended car seat based on a child’s age.
Again, the key caveat here is that a car seat is safer than a booster seat, so it’s a matter of personal circumstances as to which is better for you. Generally, however, the progression goes from rear-facing seat, to front-facing seat, to booster seat, to regular seat belt.
- Rear facing
- front facing
Because many manufacturers sell convertible or all-purpose car seats, it may be possible for you to use one car seat throughout several years of your child’s life. However, even in this situation, it’s important to follow the above safety recommendations and not move your child to a front-facing seat too early.
Making sure your car seat is installed correctly is a critical part of the safety process. In particular, you need to make sure that the car seat is correctly tethered to the car. This will prevent it from either coming loose or moving in the event of an accident.
An improperly installed car seat can be extremely unsafe, so it’s worth taking the time to make sure that it’s fitted correctly. If in doubt, follow the instructions that come with the car seat, or speak to the manufacturer.
In all cars, there are two main ‘anchors’ that are designed to fit with car seats. These are distinct from things like luggage straps, which are located in various positions depending on the make and model of your car. The two types of anchors are:
Lower anchors are in two seating positions in the back of the vehicle. These are usually in the area between the seats, located in the space at the back of the seat and above the bottom cushion. Lower anchors are two small bars onto which you can attach the car seat to ensure that the base of the car seat is attached to the car.
Tether anchors are usually above the back seat of the vehicle, although they can also be on the floor or ceiling. Check the manual for the make/model of your own car to find their location. These are used to attached the car seat’s tether to hold it in place.
Once you know where the key parts of the car seat are, you can begin installing the seat. The specific instructions vary greatly depending on the type and model of car seat that you have (i.e. a forward-facing car seat will be very different from a rear-facing car seat). If you have the manual, then you should use that to guide the installation. If not, check online for manufacturer resources.
The most important thing to check, regardless of the type and model of the car seat is that there is no movement when the car seat is properly installed.
How to Properly Secure Your Child in the Seat
First and foremost, make sure to review your car seat’s manual on how to secure your child in the safest way possible specific to that car seat type
For example, there are some differences when buckling a baby into a rear-facing car seat compared to a forward-facing car seat, as well as differences across brands and styles.
Here are some general guidelines to follow when putting your child into a car seat:
- Make sure that none of the straps are twisted. A twisted strap can render the car seat ineffective.
- The shoulder straps need to be at or below the shoulders (for infants) or at or above the shoulders (for children in forward-facing).
- Position the chest clip so that it is at the child’s armpits.
- Tighten the straps so they are snug. This will prevent the baby from slumping, which can make it difficult for them to breathe on top of it being an unsafe position in the chance of a crash.
Does it pass “the pinch test” – if you can pinch the strap, it is too loose.
Do not put your child into a car seat in bulky clothing such as a coat or snowsuit. The straps need to be snug to the child’s body to ensure minimal movement in the instance of sudden stop or impact. You can add a blanket over the straps for warmth if needed.
Once you have installed your car seat, you should take it to be inspected. This will ensure that you have done everything correctly and will give a professional the ability to help you make it as safe as possible. Search online or ask your doctor for a certified technicians in car seat installation in your area who can help.
As your child grows into different car seats, you can get it inspected again. Make sure to ask them to inspect it with your child in it, so they can determine if the fit is correct and that the child is in the right position for the harnesses. Even if everything is correct, you will have peace of mind!
Once your car seat is installed and has been inspected and passed as up to standard, you can register it online with the manufacturer. This is an important step in the event of a recall or other safety announcement. In effect, it allows the manufacturer to contact you if anything is not as safe as it should be.
You can consider this to be an additional insurance policy. This shouldn’t, however, replace regular safety inspections, as you’ll only be told of a manufacturing problem with a car seat. There may be a problem with your individual seat that a manufacturer won’t be aware of.
A car seat has the potential to save your child’s life in the case of an accident, and therefore should be treated with a great deal of care and vigilance. You should make sure that your car seat is properly installed, maintained, and fitted to your child.
There are plenty of organizations that can help you with this task, so it shouldn’t be a daunting exercise. After all, for something as important as the safety of your child, it’s worth taking the time and effort to ensure that everything works as well as it should.
Sources and Further Reading