The right car seat for your child
Infant only, convertible, all-in-one – many soon-to-be parents in New England don’t know where to start when it comes to car seats. And each choice has advantages and disadvantages.
Here are five things to consider, from shopping to installation, to help you find the right seat for your precious cargo:
- Learn the pros and cons of each seat type. Children usually outgrow infant seats within the first year. But they have a tight fit and allow you to quickly snap in and out of the carrier. Convertible seats and all-in-ones have a longer lifespan but are sometimes less comfortable. Both convert to forward-facing seats, and an all-in-one seat becomes a booster.
- Know when to use each type. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends using a rear-facing seat as long as possible ̵1; at least 12 months of age. When children reach the limit of rear-facing seats, often between 1-3 years of age, switch to forward-facing seats. When they outgrow them, usually between 4-7 years, it’s time for a booster. Finally, when a seat belt fits properly without a booster, your child is done with special seats! (They should ride in the back anyway.)
- Don’t accept a used car seat if you don’t know all about it. It must be within its useful life (look for the expiration date in the manual or on the seat) and not have been involved in an accident that caused damage or forced airbags to deploy. And of course it should not be included in any recalls.
- Read the instructions before installing. The seats should be secured in the back seat with an anchor or seat belt. When you’re done, get a free inspection to check your craftsmanship.
- Check the fit. The straps of the harness should be flat and placed through the slot either at or below your child’s shoulders (rear facing) or at or above the shoulders (forward facing). Once the harness and chest clip are secured, ensure that no extra material can be pinched at the shoulder.
Knowing your child is safe in the back seat helps you focus on distraction-free driving up front. Your car insurance also gives you peace of mind when you’re on the road. Call us today if it’s been a while since your last insurance checkup. We help you make sure you have the right coverage.