Car Seat 101
Did you know there is a science behind child passenger safety seats (aka car seats)? The production, the laws, the regulations, the installation, and even usage? One more thing for new parents to worry about, however probably one of the top 5 of importance in child-rearing. Child passenger safety technicians are trained and certified to help families navigate the world of car seats. Safe Kids Clark County, UMC Healthy Living Institute, Nevada Highway Traffic Safety, and Vegas Family Doulas are all entities that can assist with car seat questions in the Las Vegas Valley. This blog focuses on those under age 1.
What is the Best Car Seat?
You stand in the car seat aisle of the store. Perhaps you scroll through the reviews, information, and photos of car seats on Amazon. Maybe you ask social media and your friends. All along, the big question weighs on you…”What’s the BEST car seat for my baby?”
While seemingly an easy question, the answer truly is a seat that meets these guidelines:
- Fits the Child
- Fits the Car
- Can be used correctly by the caregivers every time
All car seats must pass a series of tests to make it to the market, including Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS 213) Vehicles also create their safety of usage in addition to the standards, as well as the car seat manufacturers individually. Consumers often pay for the name brand, safety features, length of usage, ease of usage, colors/patterns, etc., when on the hunt for the right seat.
What’s the Difference in Car Seats?
If car seats follow the same testing standards, what’s the difference? Why do child passenger safety seats range in price and usage? There are differences between car seats, which can be overwhelming when selecting a seat for your new baby.
- The Type: Rear-facing only or Convertible
- The Usage: The height, weight, and age range of the seat
- The Installation: Does this seat fit my car? The other passengers?
When choosing the right seat, know that Nevada law states infants under 2 must be rear-facing; and for as long as the seat allows for rear-facing. The more expensive seats will have a higher height and weight limit, allowing for rear-facing usage longevity.
What is the Safest Location for the Car Seat?
It’s a myth that the safest location for your baby’s car seat is in the middle seat. Why? Because every vehicle is different, every seat has a different structure, and every family makeup is unique. Therefore, the safest location for your baby’s car seat is the location that fits the vehicle, follows the rules found in the vehicle’s manual, and doesn’t get disturbed by the passengers going in and out of the vehicle.
This may mean that behind the driver fits the seat best. This could mean that behind the passenger gives the strongest installation. That being said, the middle seat could be the best place for the car seat. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Institute (NHTSA), front-impact car collisions are the most common, followed by rear collisions.
The center could be the solution if other passengers constantly ride in the vehicle. Think about if multiple seats are being used as well. Overall, you want a sturdy install of no movement more than 1 inch left or right at the belt path. You want to ensure that the seat locking mechanism is utilized properly, whether it be the seat belt, the lower anchors, a lock-off, or a locking clip.
The added stresses and anxieties of traveling with your new baby are valid. Truth be told, not every baby enjoys a car ride. The thought of strapping your upset baby in their car seat for an unpleasant ride isn’t a good time. Knowing that you have done everything to keep your baby safe on the road can be a relief that you can check off your list. Reach out to schedule a car seat inspection, education, and installation session with Vegas Family Doulas!
Download a Car Seat Guide Here: carseat-recommendations-for-children-by-age-size