If you have children, or are planning to have children, one of the most
important thing you need to think about purchasing is a car seat. There are many
child car seats to choose from, and making sure you have the right one is very
Child car seats are often divided into categories, which manufacturers often
refer to as stages. These stages include Stage 1 or Groups 0 & 0+, Stage 2 or
Group 1, Stage 3 or Group 2, and, lastly, Stage 4 or Group 3. There are some
child car seats that are able to be converted as your child grows, so it can
possibly fit into several stages and/or groups.
The first of the main types of child car seats is the rear-facing baby seat for
children who fit into Group 0. These are used from birth to up to 6-9 months
and/or for infants weighing up to 22 pounds. They also fit the Group 0+ category
since some are made for use from birth up to 12-15 months and/or infants
weighing up to 29 pounds.
Rear-facing infant car seat
Rear-facing child car seats are to be used in either the front seat or back seat
of an automobile. However, it is known to be safer when they are used in the
back seat. Never use rear-facing child car seats in a front passenger seat if it
has a passenger-side airbag.
Rear-facing child car seats offer much greater protection for an infantís head,
neck, and also spine. So, it is recommended that you use rear-facing child car
seats as long as you can, moving your child into a forward-facing seat only
after he/she is too big for the seatís weight limit or his/her head is higher
than the seatís top.
This brings us to forward-facing child car seats. These are for children who fit
into Group 1, used from 9 months to 4 years of age, or for children weighing
20-40 pounds. As with rear-facing child car seats, forward-facing child car
seats can be used both in the front and back seats, although using it in the
back seat is recommended.
A forward-facing child car seat should be used until the child is too big for
the seatís weight limit, and/or the top of the childís head is higher than the
Lastly, we come to the booster cushion or booster seats. The booster
cushion/seat is used for children ranging from 6 to 11-years-old and weighing
from 48 to 79 pounds. As with both the rear-facing and forward-facing child car
seats, the booster cushion/seat can be used in both the front and back seats,
although the back seat is recommended as safer.
Neither booster cushions nor booster seats have an harness that is used to hold
a child in the correct place. Instead, an adult car seat belt is used to go
around both the child and the seat. This means that having the seat belt
correctly adjusted is very important.
While using a booster cushion/seat, you need to make sure that the seat belt
worn is as tight as it can possibly be, the lap belt is positioned over the
childís pelvic region, and not his/her stomach, and that the diagonal seat belt
strap rests over his/her shoulder, not his/her neck.
When it comes to choose child car seats for your child, it is very important
that you make sure the one you choose works both for your child and the type of
automobile that you drive.
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