By RENAISSANCE ALLIANCE
Car accident is the leading cause of death for American children aged 3 to 1
Buying a child safety or booster seat for your car should not be a quick or easy purchase if you want to guarantee your child's safety. Do you know the different chairs and which ones fit when? Do you choose the right place for your child and your vehicle? Is the seat properly installed and is your child properly secured? Do you know when to change / upgrade the seat when your child grows? The Mayo Clinic lists 9 common mistakes parents make when installing and using child car seats.
First know your state law. The Governors Highway Safety Association says all states and territories require child safety seats for infants and children that meet specific criteria, but the requirements vary depending on age, weight and height. This is often done in three steps: infants use rear-facing highchairs; toddlers use forward-facing child seats; and older children use highchairs. They offer an overview of state laws.
For help in buying and installing the right seat, we offer several reliable sources that you can turn to for research:
National Highway Traffic Safety Foundation has a good car seat and booster seat guide with various tools such as guides you through each step. Some of the practical tools they offer include:
Safe Kids Worldwide offers the ultimate car seat guide, which offers practical tips to protect children in cars from buying, installing, ensuring a secure fit and when to change seats as your child ages. If you need help installing your car seat or want a check to ensure it is properly installed, Safe Kids coalitions have car seat checks and inspection stations around the country. If there is no incident near you, you can search for a Certified Child Passenger Safety (CPST) that can help you.
Consumer Reports also offers excellent car seats and buying guide, including the video below.
Wirecutter (from the New York Times) also offers consumer guides for finding the best car seat for children and the best car seats.