The best way to keep your child safe on the road is to use a car seat. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), correctly used car seats can reduce the risk of death by up to 71 percent. Here are some tips to help protect your most precious cargo.
Getting the Correct Seat
While there are many different brands to choose from, it is important to note that all car seats marketed in the United States meet federal safety standards. There are three main types of car seats to choose from:
- Rear-facing: This will be your baby’s first seat. It is usually suitable for babies between 5 to 40 pounds.
- Forward-facing: When your child outgrows the height or weight limits for the rear-facing seat or reaches the age of 2, you should switch to a forward-facing seat with a harness.
- Booster seat: Once your little one has outgrown the forward-facing seat in height or weight, they graduate to a booster seat. This seat lifts your child so that the safety belt fits correctly.
Before you buy your child’s seat, regardless of which stage your child is in, be sure to check the height and weight restrictions. If you purchase a car seat with a higher height and weight limit, they will last longer.
Properly Installing Your Car Seat
When you get a new car seat, you want to ensure that the seat is installed in your car properly. Because each car seat is different, you should read the user manual for your car seat to make sure you install your car seat securely.
If you are not comfortable installing your car seat yourself, you can have a professional install your seat for you. At Good Samaritan, you can make an appointment with one of our Certified Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST) to assist you.
Properly Fitting the Harness
Each type of car seat has different requirements when it comes to how their harness or safety belt should fit. For both forward and rear-facing car seats, a 5-point harness should be used as long as your child meets the height and weight requirements for the seat. For booster seats, your car’s lap and shoulder safety belt should be used as outlined in your seat’s user manual.
Another tip to keep in mind is that bulky clothing and jackets can prevent a proper snug fit in your child’s harness. You should adjust the harness when your little one isn’t wearing their coat, put the jacket back on, and buckle them in. Although this may seem tight, the harness is properly fit to your child’s body.
When to Change Your Car Seat
While the criteria for each type of seat differs, it is recommended that you use your current car seat until your child reached the height or weight limit listed for your seat. This is because each seat is designed for maximum safety and protection for specific heights, weights, and ages.
Grow Up with Good Samaritan
At Good Samaritan, we believe mothers who make every effort to take the best care of their child during pregnancy and throughout childhood deserve to be rewarded. Grow Up With Good Samaritan is a program designed to decrease infant mortality and increase the health of your little one—being a member of this program entitles you to free car seats for the rest of your child’s life - while they need a car seat or booster.
To learn more about our Grow Up with Good Samaritan program, call us today at 812-885-8500.