Car Seat Confessions: Nine Things You Probably Didn’t Know
Car seat laws are forever changing. If you have a ten year old, the laws were probably different even then than they are now for your friend’s one year olds. With all these changes it’s hard for parents, caregivers, aunts, grandma’s etc. to keep up with the current seat belt and car safety laws. Following are nine Car Seat Confessions of things you probably didn’t know.
1: Even though the law states that infants can sit front-facing at 12 months old, they SHOULD sit rear-facing as long as possible. 35 pounds minimum if possible unless they’re too tall.
2: In Sweden, children sit rear-facing until they are three or even five years old, then move directly to booster seats. That definitely seems “weird” but their children are safer in car accidents and their track record proves it.
3: The length of a child’s legs does not indicate they are ready to be forward facing. It is not unsafe for them to have their knees bent while they sit rear-facing. They are only “too tall” for their seat if the top of their head is less than an inch away from the top of the seat. But because of the differences between torsos and legs and proportions, the WEIGHT LIMIT is the one to really pay attention to.
4: The safest place for a car seat or booster is in the center position in the back seat. It is 43% safer than the side positions. Many of us have the whole back seat full of kids, but if you only have one child, put them in the middle. Otherwise, place the most vulnerable child passenger in the middle.
5: Even after your child meets the four years/40 pounds booster seat recommendation, a high-weight seat with a five-point harness seat belt is still safer especially if they’re not mature enough to sit in a booster with only a shoulder and lap belt or if they’re special needs. The other safer option is a RideSafer Travel Vest.
6: Yes, your child should ride in a car seat or a RideSafer Travel Vest in a taxi. Holding them in a baby carrier strapped to you or sharing a seat belt with them or having them in your lap are the MOST dangerous options. If you must ride in a taxi sans restraint system, let them sit on the seat alone with their own seat belt.
7: If your child must use a lap and shoulder belt, tucking the shoulder strap under their arm or behind their back is a big no-no. Doing this increases their chances of serious injury or death.
8: Some car seats come with an “expiration date” of just five years. Best practice says to retire seats after six years.
9: Don’t buy or use used car seats. They might be too old, or recalled.