Did you know that car crashes are the leading cause of death for kids age 1-13? And that an estimated 70% of car seats have at least one installation error? Scary. This week is Child Passenger Safety Week - a week designed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to raise awareness about the importance of properly installed car seats. Here are three important tips to find the safest car seat for your child.
How to Get the Safest Car Seat
TIP 1: The safest car seat fits both your child and your car. There isn't one best car seat. The most important thing is to find car seat that fits your child and your car.This list maintained by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows an alphabetical list of car seats by type and includes their weight and height limits as well as prices to help you find one that will fit your child. Once you've narrowed down your list, take a tape measure to your backseat and then visit the manufacturer's website for the car seat's dimensions. The same car seat won't necessarily fit the same in the back of a Suburban as it will in a Prius.
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TIP 2: The safest car seat is the one that is installed correctly.A car seat won't preform up to its potential if it isn't installed correctly, and unfortunately, many of them aren't. Step one is to read the directions. A study by the NHTSA found that 20% of parents aren’t reading the car seat manual before installing it. Skipping the directions may lead you to miss key safety features, adjustments, or guidelines for ensuring a safe and secure installation. Car sear manufacturers are often coming up with new ways to help you install the car seat safely like Chicco's RideRight™ bubble levels that help you to know if the seat is installed at the correct angle - but if you don't know to look for these aids, they can't help you. Still not feeling confident? Use the NHTSA’s listing of child passenger safety seat technicians who will install the car seat for you.
TIP 3: The safest car seat will have above and beyond safety features.It's important to remember that all car seats sold in the U.S. must meet the Federal Safety Standards & strict crash performance standards. That being said, some companies go above and beyond to include additional featuresthat provided added safety for the child such as enhanced side-impact protection, shock-absorbing foam, or anti-rebound bars.
Have questions? Leave them below and I'll try to answer or visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for more info. Happy Child Passenger Safety Week!