Choose Correct Car Seat For Your Kids

presilla By presilla, 28th Jul 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Kids

Car seat safety is crucial for protecting your child during travel.

Choose Correct Child Car Seat

There is nothing more nerve-wracking than that first drive home from the hospital with your new baby, so it may come as a shock to realise that many of us would have experienced our first car ride in the arms of our mother! In fact, baby capsules were only developed in 1984.

Thankfully, if you are reading this, it means that you survived yourchildhood car rides relatively unscathed, despite the lax child restraint laws in past decades.Our awareness of safety has definitely improved over the years, and you would have to be living under a rock not to have heard about the contemporary laws, designed to protect our precious progeny.

The new laws concerning child restraints were made compulsory in March 2011.

These laws state that all children under the age of seven must be properly restrained in an approved child restraint. The introduction of these laws have seen a decrease in the number of children injured or killed on our roads; however, of the injuries or deaths that do occur, a huge percentage are due to incorrect installation or fitting of child restraints.

With all of the advances in child restraint technology and car safety, the chances of avoiding serious injury in an accident are certainly improving, but all of the technology in the world cannot help you if you don't use it properly.

Having an incorrectly installed, or ill-fitting child seat, is akin to wearing a seatbelt that isn't correctly fastened.

Even something as simple as a loose shoulder strap on a child seat can cause serious injury in an accident, and every busy or stressed-out parent knows how easy it can be to unintentionally overlook things like this. It is so easy to almost drive off, only to realise the child's seat harness is not fastened!

So, besides being extra vigilant, how can we ensure our children's car seats are as safe as possible?

Get the right seat for your child. The laws concerning seat size and position are based upon safety research, so it is important to refrain from upgrading your child's seat size or type before they are at the maximum weight or height limit for their current seat. However, you may have to upgrade if your child's weight exceeds the standards for a restraint recommended for his or her age.
Children aged six months and under require a rearward-facing child restraint, in the form of either a baby capsule or a convertible baby seat.
Children aged six months to four years require a rearward-facing or forward-facing child restraint, which has an inbuilt harness.
Children aged four years to seven years require a forward-facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness, or a booster seat with either a properly fastened and adjusted child-safety harness or seatbelt. If only using a seatbelt, it must be a full lap/sash seatbelt (not just a lap-only belt); otherwise, a child-safety harness must be used.
Researchers actually recommend keeping your child in a rearward-facing restraint for as long as possible, up to the age of four. This is because children under four have a larger proportionate head size, and an accident in a forward-facing seat can cause their head to snap forward, with potentially devastating consequences. A child in a rearward-facing seat is 90 per cent less likely to sustain serious injury in an accident than if they were in a forward-facing seat.
Make sure your carseat meets Australian standards. This isn’t only common sense, it's the law! Child restraints must meet the Australian/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS) 1754. You can check to see if this standard is displayed on the packaging. You will also need to check your state laws, as some states restrict the use of restraints made prior to 1991. Also, check to make sure your seat hasn't been recalled.
Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) when buying second-hand seats. We all love a bargain, but don't let a few dollars temp you into taking risks. Check a second-hand seat thoroughly for any cracks, fraying or damage. Make sure the latches work well and that all of the parts – including the instruction manual – are included. Do not buy if the seat has ever been in an accident, even if it was a relatively small one.
Place the seat securely in the back. Children under four must travel in the back seat. If there are not enough child restraint anchorage points installed to accommodate all of your children in the rear seats, you will need to have some installed. In all cases, the use of a child restraint anchorage point is essential for child seats, or a lap/sash seatbelt for booster seats. A rearward-facing child restraint must not be used if there is a passenger airbag present.
Be aware of external factors. Check that the location ofyour child's seat will not be impacted by airbags – it is a good idea to seek professional advice to determine this. Also, do not wrap your child in blankets or similar before placing them in their seat, as this may interfere with the proper working of the restraints in an accident

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
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