Tips for Car Seats

Tips for Car Seats

One of the best things about living in New York City are the city’s many plentiful public transportation options. Take the bus or the subway and you’ll be at your destination quickly. While many New Yorkers find these options convenient and easy, cars are also extremely useful for getting around, visiting people in the suburbs, and vacations. This is true especially when you have a family. All parents should have the car seat they like best before they bring a baby home from the hospital.

Car seats for infants and toddlers divided into four basic types. There’s rear-facing-only, rear-facing convertible, convertible and forward-facing with harness. School aged children can use a booster seat. Children under thirteen should always ride in the back seat with a seat belt.

All newborns should be firmly secured in a rear-facing or rear-facing convertible car seat. Rear-facing car seats are a must. The rear position allows forces during any crash to be equally distributed across the side of the entire seat. Studies have repeatedly shown that children two and under are over five times less vulnerable to injury or even death than children seated in forward facing seats. If your car seat allows you to rear-face longer we recommend doing it until your child reaches the maximum weight or height requirements. Young children’s developing spines are best protected if they rear face until at least 4 years of age.

Many parents find it convenient to use what are known as convertible car seats. These are seats that a parent can convert from the rear-facing position to a forward-facing position. They are designed to last until the toddler at least forty pounds. Crash tests by Consumer Reports have found that convertible car seats are actually safer once the child passes their first birthday. New York state laws require children under two to be held in a rear facing car seat. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents use rear-facing car seats for as long as possible as this is the safest position.

Rear-facing car seats are divided into three categories. You’ll find rear-facing only seats, convertible seats and what are known as a 3-in-1 seat. It’s best to look closely at each type of car seat before you give birth. Think about the kind of seat your child will need as they grow. A rear-facing-only car seat can typically be used for babies and toddlers up to roughly twenty-five pounds. The typical rear-facing-only car seat has a handle, a seat and a base that you leave in the car. This a good choice for the baby’s first year.

A convertible car seat has a 5 point harness and can be used as the child outgrows the rear facing position. These are typically bulkier than the rear-facing-only seat and are usually left in the car. While safer, they can be hard to carry around, particularly if you’re only using a car once in while. Children should be in a 5 point harness seat until at least 40 inches and 40 pounds but many car seats will allow higher weights/heights. The AAP recommends keeping your child in a 5 point restraint until he/she reaches the maximum limits.

Once your child outgrows the convertible seat they should be placed in a belt positioning booster seat. It is recommended that children be restrained in a booster until they are 4’9” and at least 8 years of age. NY State law also requires that children be in a car seat until 8 years of age.

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