Baby Car Seat Safety

Posted by Mpho Ashworth on August 05, 2015

One of the things that parents find most stressful is shopping for their baby's car seat. It's not surprising because as a responsible parent, you want to ensure that your child is safe at all times. Each year there are reports of thousands of horror stories that involve children being killed in car crashes. Some of these are attributed to the lack of a safe baby car seat, something that should be easy to resolve.

With the right choice of seats and their proper use, the job of keeping children safe not only gives parents peace of mind, but also guarantees the baby's safety. Today's parents are spoiled for choice in terms of the variety and brands available on the market. It's therefore not surprising that many parents find shopping for a car seat overwhelming and stressful.
 
Types of Seats Available to Babies and Toddlers
 
Rear facing only and rear facing convertible seats. Recommended as being the safest for babies and toddlers, until they are at least two years old or they reach the maximum height and weight recommended by the manufacturer.

Convertible seats and forward facing seats with harnesses. If your baby has outgrown the rear-facing height and weight requirements for his car seat, it's the right time to swap it to the forward facing version with a harness. These car seats are recommended for toddlers and pre-school age children.
 
Points To Bear in Mind When Shopping For Your Baby's Car Seat
 
Don't be led solely by price. Just because it's the most expensive doesn't necessarily mean it's the best or the most user friendly. Go for the right car seat for your baby. There's no such thing as the best or safest car seat, because the one size fits all idea doesn't work in this situation.

Read the label on the car seat to ensure that it's the best for your child based on their age, height and weight.
 
Discard and replace any car seat that's been in a moderate to severe car accident. Seats that have been through a moderate car accident may very well be safe to use, but you can never be too safe! Manufacturers urge parents to replace car seats involved in any car accident, no matter how minor.
 
Ensure the car seat is correctly installed. Follow the instructions manual to the letter. Once installed, check that the seat is secure and properly installed. The easiest way to check is by giving the seat a firm tug at the base, where the seat belt fits. If it's properly installed, the car seat shouldn't move around beyond 2.5 cm.
 
Avoid using second hand car seats unless you know the history. If you do use one, look out for the following:

Read the label for the manufacturer's stipulations on how long it's meant to be used. Do not use it if it doesn't come with an instruction manual, as you'll need to know how to use it correctly. Do not use the seat if it was recalled. Manufacturers recall products for a reason, usually due to serious concern over the health and safety of the end user. Not taking heed of a recall could put your child's safety at risk, and at worst result in tragedy.