According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicles are considered the leading cause of death amongst children in the United States. The research goes on to note that in 2011 alone more than 650 children 12 years or younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes in the United States. An additional 148,000 children during this time were injured as a result. The research also notes that this number has only gone up.
Although, these statistics can be distressing, the reality is that the situation is entirely preventable. The research also indicates that car seats can reduce the risk of serious injury for children by 71% and toddlers by 54%.
After understanding the importance of placing your child in a car seat during every ride, a parent must also understand that car seats should be selected with the individual child in mind.
The first thing that you must consider is the age of the child, as there are different seats for different age groups. The Texas Department of Public Safety suggests that one use their handy guide that rolls out car seat use per age in individual phases.
Phase 1: Ideal for Infants. Birth until 35+ pounds, 2+ age children should utilize rear-facing car seats.
Phase 2: 2+ years of age, 40-80+pounds. Children should ride in a forward-facing car seat.
Phase 3: 4+ until 4’9” tall, 10-12 years. A booster seat should be used until the child can comfortably wear an adult seat.
Phase 4: The final stage is when the child has finally outgrown his/her booster seat and can now wear an adult safety strap.
In addition to the aforementioned phases, it is also suggested that the following tips for selecting a car seat should be used:
- Read all of the information on the vehicle’s manual in order to consider factors about car seat placement and the overall installation process.
- Ensure that the car seat is not only age-appropriate but also correct for the child’s height and weight.
- Take into account the room available in the backseat in order to ensure which car seat will be the best fit for your car’s available spacing.
- Read the installation instructions carefully when constructing the car seat. Ideally, the instruction manual should include an easy-to-follow manual for optimal clarity.
- Ensure that the belt path is not only acceptable but is able to be properly secured and fastened.
- Ideally, the car seat should have harness adjusters in order to improve the effectiveness of the seat in the event that a crash occurs.
- Additionally, a seat that has two-piece retainer clips will also make it difficult for the child to unfasten.
- Consider both design and material. You want a car seat that best fits you, in terms of aesthetics, but also keeps in mind that textured fabric is much harder to clean than smooth fabric.
Children are our most precious cargo and thus, you must ensure that your car seat is ideal for your child.