Preschooler Car Safety: 5 Types of Safety Restraints

preschooler car seats

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car accidents are the #1 killer for children ages 1 to 12. It is a parent’s duty to keep children safe. You cannot control the actions of the other drivers, or the conditions of the road, but you can control how safe your child is inside the car with the proper use of a car seat.

The AAP suggests that “infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat. Most convertible seats have limits that will allow children to ride rear-facing for 2 years or more.”

Car accidents are the #1 killer for children ages 1 to 12!

If possible, the middle of the back seat is the safest place for your child to sit. Children under 13 should not sit in the front seat.

When choosing a car seat, be wary of hand-me-downs. Do not accept a car seat if you do not know its history, and be sure to check its expiration date. Just because a car seat is more expensive does not mean it is safer. According to HealthyChildren.org, “The best seat is the one that fits your child’s size, is correctly installed, fits well in your vehicle, and is used properly every time you drive.”

There are five different types of car safety restraints:

  1. Convertible seats are car seats that can switch from rear-facing to forward-facing.
  2. Forward-facing only seats are just what they sound like, though manufacturers have ceased making them, according to HealthyChildren.org. If you use a forward-facing car seat, check the height and weight limit for that particular model. The maximum recommended weight can range from 40 to 80 pounds.
  3. Combination Seats are seats that can have a harness and later can act as a booster. Depending on the manufacturer, they can safely hold a maximum of 40-90 pounds with the harness and 80-120 pounds without the harness.
  4. Built-in seats are safety seats built into the car. The weight and height limits vary with the type of vehicle.
  5. Travel vests are harnesses for children between 20 and 168 pounds, and are useful when a car only has lap belts, or when a child’s weight exceeds the limit of a regular car seat.

Children under 13 should not sit in the front seat.

Most cars and car seats manufactured after September 1, 2012 come with the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children). When installing your car seat, you may use the seat belt, or the LATCH. Even when using the seat belt, the top tether is important to use.

Car safety laws for children vary slightly by state. To learn about the specific car seat laws for your state, check out this website!

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Preschooler Car Safety: 5 Types of Safety Restraints

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