Child Car Seat: Types, Selection & Installation
Driving with an infant is never easy. While car seats are usually designed to provide safety, you should be aware of the type of seat you select for your child. This depends on your child’s age, height, weight, etc.
Are you curious to know more about the types of car seats for infants? This article will give you a detailed guide regarding selecting car seats for kids and their installation.
What Are the Types of Car Seats for Your Baby?
There can be multiple types of car seats for a child. Here are the common ones you can choose for your child's safety.
1. Infant Car Seat
As its name suggests, this car seat is designed for infants. Its age range is up to two years of age. It can also double as a carrier. A child should sit facing the rear in this model, which ensures maximum protection. It can last 6-24 months based on your child's growth.
2. Convertible Car Seat
This is another type of car seat for infants. These can be used for a long time from birth until your child starts outgrowing the seat. It is more cost-efficient than infant car seats, as these can be converted and adjusted to fit the height and weight of your child. These can be used in two positions, forward-facing or rear-facing seats.
3. 3-In-1 Seats
This type of car seat for children is similar to the convertible seat type. Moreover, these also work as booster seats. Most people prefer this car seat since it accommodates children until they are old enough to use a regular seat and seatbelt. It is, therefore, much more cost-effective and practical.
4. Booster Seat
This car seat benefits kids who can sit in a forward-facing position. The child should weigh between 30 and 40 pounds to use this type of seat. While it mostly accommodates slightly older children, you can use it until your child is old enough to sit on a regular car seat.
Moreover, as laws regarding car seats keep changing, keeping a booster seat with high weight will help you maintain a consistent position.
How to Strap Child Seat Safely for Your Child?
To fit your child correctly, place your kid in the car seat. Make sure that his/her back is flat against the seat. Now, place harness straps over his/her shoulders, buckle them and tighten the chest clip. The following steps will help you strap this seat safely for your child in the car.
- Check the harness after making your child sit on the car seat. Make sure that it is the correct height for your child’s shoulder.
- Keeping your child's height in mind, ensure this harness is not more than 2cm above your child's shoulder.
- The harness belt should be straight and flat. It should not be twisted or tangled at any level.
- Start with tightening the harness upwards, and then you need to tighten it from the bottom.
- Position the harness pads across your child’s chest for extra protection while driving.
How to Choose the Right Car Seat for Your Child?
Now that you know all about baby car seats, you must be curious to know how to choose a car seat for a baby. The following tips can help you here.
Select an Approved Car Seat
Car seats are usually approved under two regulations, ECE R44 and UNR 129-Size. Make sure to choose a car seat tested under one of these. Avoid purchasing non-tested seats for a better price deal. Moreover, change the car seat if it undergoes any damage.
Consider Your Child’s Physique
Your child’s age and physique will decide your choice of car seats. The height and weight of your child should determine the choice of a car seat or its adjustments. The following table will be beneficial for you.
|Car Seat Type
|Infant car seat
|0 - 2 years
|30 - 35 lbs
|Under 50 cm
|0 - 2 years
|30 - 35 lbs
|Under 50 cm
|2 - 4 years
|60 - 90 lbs
|50 - 100 cm
|Booster cushion seats
|6 - 11 years
|80 - 125 lbs
|100 - 125 cm
Ensure That the Seat Fits Your Car
You must check the car seat with a practical demonstration. If your car has ISOfix, fitting car seats will be easier and more convenient. These are small metal rings in your vehicle seat’s back. If it is not there, you must choose a car seat accordingly.
Choose a Cost-effective One
Choosing convertible car seats can be more convenient and cost-effective, as these will last a long time. It will help you avoid changing the seats once in a regular while. In other cases, look for leg room ability to adjust the height and reclining seat positions before purchasing it.
Look for Side Impact Protection
Nowadays, side impact protection is an important point for checking the protection of a car seat. About 25% - 30% of impacts are side impacts. Therefore, the UN R129 regulation must incorporate this factor in baby car seats. You should always check for this feature.
What Are the Things to Remember When Installing a Child Car Seat?
When installing car seats for your child, you must be careful to get the best features and benefits. The following tips will be beneficial in avoiding common mistakes.
Choose the Right Spot
The safest spot for your child's car seat will be in your vehicle's rear end. It will be away from airbags. Placing it in the front seat might inflate the airbags, which can hit the rear-facing seat's back, thereby hitting your child's head. Moreover, it is ideal for placing the seat in the rear seat's middle so that it will always be visible to you while driving.
Buckle up Your Kid Correctly
Read the manual carefully and use the harness slots described here. Buckle these straps and the chest clip. Make sure that it fits properly. It should be even with your child’s shoulders and armpits. You can also keep tightly rolled clothes or blankets to tighten their fit.
Recline to the Correct Angle
When placing a seat in a rear-facing position, ensure the car seat is reclined as per the manufacturer's instructions. Babies should always ride semi-reclined, which keeps their airways open. Seats often come with angle indicators or adjusters. It would help if you changed the angle as your child grows.
Avoid Moving to a Forward-facing Position
You might wish to change your child’s car seat to a forward-facing position. It allows you to see your child through your car’s rear-view mirror. However, it would help if you resisted this urge. Riding the rear face is recommended for kids until the child reaches the maximum height as per requirements.
Use Tether for Forward-facing Seats
Irrespective of the installation method, always attach a tether strap to your car’s tether anchor. It will add to your baby's safety, keeping the seat secured to its place. It is designed to reduce movements during a crash.
Therefore, as you can see, there are various infant car seats. When travelling with babies, you must choose a car seat carefully, keeping the safety requirements in mind. As this article pointed out, choosing the right seat depends on the age and physique of the child.