Car crashes have been a leading cause of death for children over the last 10 years and it is extremely important for parents and caregivers to understand not only how to use the right car safety seats, but also which one to buy for their child in order to better protect them.
How can you make sure your child’s car seat is correctly installed? How can you be sure your child is safe? Where is the safest place to install a car seat? What is the safest car seat you should buy? These are very good questions that demand all parents full attention.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), to easily answer the main question, the safest way for children to ride in the car is rear-facing for as long as possible, in the center of the back seat. In their recent safety guidelines update, AAP suggest parents should keep the child rear-facing until they don’t fit in that position anymore. “Fortunately, car seat manufacturers have created seats that allow children to remain rear-facing until they weigh 40 pounds or more.” said Benjamin Hoffman, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement and chair of the AAP Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention. “If you have a choice, keeping your child rear-facing as long as possible is the best way to keep them safe.”
Hoffman explains that when the child is rear facing, their back, neck, spine and head are being supported by the hard shell of the car safety seat in case of a crash, which protects the most vulnerable parts of the body. If you turn them forward facing, they will be restrained by the harness strap and lose neck and head support.
It is crucial that parents remember to always use a car seat or a booster seat for safety in every ride, so they can lower any risk of death or serious injury by more than 70%.
In this article we will explain the difference between the car seat to better help you to pick the best car seat for your family!
Infant Car Seats
The use of a car seat is mandatory for all children. Choosing the ideal car seat should be based on the child's age, weight, height and comfort. Parents must install the car seat before the child is born, as its use is mandatory when leaving the hospital.
We recommend using the Infant Car Seat first, then Convertible Car Seat and finally the Booster. The infant car seat must be used against the direction of travel (Rear Facing) during the entire period of use. We do not recommend its use in the sense "Forward Facing".
The weight capacity of an Infant Car Seat will depend on the model and brand chosen, but in general it is between 4lbs and 35lbs (1.8 to 15kg).
By law, it is mandatory to use the car seat in the Rear Facing direction until the child reaches 20lbs (9kgs) and is less than 1 year old, but we recommend leaving the car seat in this position for as long as possible, as it is much more comfortable - since some car seats can recline, and much safer during an unwanted collision.
Advantages of purchasing an Infant Car Seat:
- More comfortable for the child;
- It can be used in the stroller which allows you to remove the baby from the car without waking him/her up;
- Its shape was developed to protect the baby's spine and it has a "C" shape, must keep in mind that the recommendation is that the baby does not stay more than 2 hours in this same position, therefore, it is recommended to remove the baby from the car seat so it can obtain another position.
- The canopy has a sun protection factor for when you remove the infant car seat from the car and put it in the stroller for a ride keep your baby safe from the sun exposure. In addition, many models of infant car seats can be taken inside the plane for your baby's safety.
Learn a little more about it:Latch: This is a simpler and faster installation system that is mainly used in Europe and the United States (It can be also called Isofix). It does, however, require the car to leave the factory with the necessary fittings for the car seat installation. The system consists of two attachment points on the base of the car seat that fits in two points on the vehicle, located in the gap between the seat and the backrest of the rear seat.
A third point in the car is connected to a hook on the car seat, preventing it from moving. This point can be on the floor, on the back of the backrest or on the side of the car (in the same area where the seat belts come out).
In addition, some car seat models feature a new technology called Load Leg.
This technology reduces the movement of the car seat during an accident by keeping the child in place. This will beneficially impact on decreasing head, neck, and spine injuries. A reduction of more than 46% of the action force suffered by the child has been proven, which makes this type of car seat much safer.
Some Baby Car Seats with Load Le are: Nuna Pipa
Convertible Car Seat | Toddler Car Seat
We call a convertible car seat the one that can be used after birth where the convertible seat is used against the direction of travel (facing backwards) and also in the direction of travel (Forward Facing).This is normally the baby's 2nd car seat and we recommend keeping it facing backwards (Rear-Facing) until they are 2 years old or until they reach 40 pounds (approximately 18 kilos).
You can use the convertible car seat in forward-facing direction after your child reaches 20 pounds, but it will reduce their safety in a head-on collision, as well as taking away the comfort of seat reclining, as in this position the rear seat prevents their effective reclining. For this reason, we recommend that you extend the use of the rear-facing seat as much as possible. Remember that using this way is the safest and most comfortable for your baby.
Some Convertible Car Seat models can be used from birth in replacement for the Infant Car Seat. The vast majority holds a child up to 65lbs (approximately 5 years old), always depending on the model, car seat manufacturer and the child's height.
Important: Although some manufacturers indicate the use of the Convertible Car Seat in the first year of life, we recommend the purchase of the Infant Car Seat for the parents' ease of mobility, as they adapt to most baby strollers and for the child's comfort.
There are many different car seat models and brands and it is important to pay attention to features such as: head protection, weight capacity (some do not reach 65lbs capacity), seat recline, 5-point belt, fastening ways in the car (latch/isofix for example) and the safety structure that the seat offers to protect your child.
Remember that the use of a car seat is directly linked to the child's safety during a collision, for example. So investing in a cheap car seat without many resources can have a negative result in an accident. The more reinforced the seat structure, the more safety your child will have during a collision.
Recommended brands like Britax, Nuna, Cybex ends up offering a larger amount of benefits.
Booster Car Seat
The child's third car seat will be a booster seat. We recommend using as much of the convertible car seat as possible and then moving to a booster, as the structure is more reinforced, which increases safety. There are 3 different booster car seat models:
The first comes with a 5-point harness (Harness Booster Seat) and can be used by children over 25 lbs, usually between 3 and 9 years old. It has a stronger structure than the other boosters
The second model has a backrest, but no seat belt. The car's own belt is used, that is, a 3-pointed belt and in this case the child needs to be tall enough to sit and be able to use the car's belt, that is, above 57” or 1.45m.
The third model also uses the car's belt, but this one doesn't have the backrest. Both are suitable for children between 40 and 120lbs (4 and 12 years old).
The safety of these last two models is much less during a collision due to the use of the 3-point belt.
It is important to keep in mind that boosters can only be used facing forward and there is practically no reclining so the child is sitting all the time. So consider it important the using of the convertible (rear-facing) as much as possible for the child's comfort.
Car seat installation must be done by the child's parent or guardian and may be guided by a technician certified by National CPS Certification, often times fire departments have certified technicians that are able to help. MacroBaby has a certified employee who can guide our customers in Orlando check availability of this professional with our customer service team.
Position to install car seat in the car. What is the safest position to install a car seat in the car?
The safest position for the child is to install the car seat in the middle seat as it considerably reduces the impact on the child in a side road accident. Some car models are already coming out with latch (isofix) in the central part, but if you don't have, the installation can be done with the seat belt. Although this is the safest position most parents choose to install the car searts behind the driver's seat to make it easier to watch over the baby or to get the baby out of the car. Also, installing it behind the driver could be a good option because it is instinctive to move the car to the opposite direction to its position, in order to protect itself and automatically protect the child.
CAR SEAT EXPIRATION DATE
Did you know that the car seats have an expiration date? How long is a car seat good for?
All models of car seats have an expiration date of around 6 years, some brands a little longer, but it is necessary to consult the product manual or, in some brands, look for a label attached to the product, to find the exact expiration date.
This happens for several reasons:
- Technology advancement and legislation (very old models may no longer meet current requirements);
- Environmental degradation of components, considering the storage, temperature, and more;
- Plastic, over time, becomes more fragile which reduces safety;
- Possible loss of parts.
- Using a used or expired car seat can be dangerous for your child, especially when you do not know the history of this product.
A car seat is the most important investment you will make for your child as this can be life saver in case of causalities and you must make a very educated decision. The cheaper the car seat you can expect to have the cheaper materials being used to manufacture it, so you must take that in consideration before making your decision.
Some of the safest car seat brands in the market are: