Parent Time

Safety Concerns of Rear Facing and Front Facing Car Seats for Newborn Baby, Infant and Toddlers

Rear Facing Car Seats for Premature Babies and Newborn Infants

If you aren't sure how to install a car seat, don't fake it! Some estimates say that up to 80% of car seats are not installed properly, and that can cause disaster. If you don't feel very confident that you can install your choice of car seat exactly as it should be, find someone who can do the job for you.

There are differences between car seats based on the age of the children riding in them. Infant car seats are built so the baby faces the back of the car, which has been determined the safest seating option for small babies. Infant car seats should sit at a 45 degree angle and shouldn't move more than an inch in any direction at installation. To get the angle right, you may need to place a folded towel under the seat. The harness straps should come to or just below the baby's shoulders, and you shouldn't be able to get more than a finger under the straps at the collarbone. The clip that fastens at the chest should be even with the baby's armpits.

Infants should stay in rear-facing seats until they weigh at least 20 pounds, can pull themselves up to stand, or reach one year of age. Some experts say you can keep the baby in the rear-facing seat even longer: it mainly depends on how the seat continues to fit the child. Premature babies often take longer to catch up in weight and height: your preemie may stay in the rear-facing seat longer than usual. Convertible car seats are the answer to the problem of the growing child: convertibles can be used as rear-facing seats until the child is older, and then convert to front-facing seats. Stroller combo seats are car seats that are also made to fit in the stroller so you never have to take the baby from the seat. The seat comes with a base that is installed in the car and stays there while Baby goes a' roaming in the stroller. When it's time to get back in the car, just take the seat with the baby in it, fasten it onto the base, secure the harness, and away you go! And if you spend a lot of time taking Baby from car to house to wherever, you may want to look for a car seat that doubles as a carrier as well as fitting into the stroller.

Front Facing Car Seats for Babies and Toddler Booster Chairs

Once children reach the proper weight and skill set (they can pull themselves up and weigh more than 20 pounds), they can be moved to a front-facing car seat. Forward-facing car seats must have a tether strap, and that strap must also be installed properly in order to keep the seat in its best working order. Toddlers weighing between 20 and 40 pounds should be placed in forward-facing seats. It's important to pay attention to what your child weighs: car seats are only rated for a particular number of pounds, and if your child is over weight for that car seat, it cannot protect her as it should. If your child is tall for her age, you will also want to make sure that the car seat provides protection at the top of the head. Make certain that your child's head is cushioned by the car seat with enough space so that hitting a big bump won't bump the child's head on the seat.

For children who are growing, booster seats a needed in the car. A child under the age of 8, who weighs between 40 and 80 pounds and who is under 4 feet 9 inches tall must have a booster seat when rising in the car. Once the child reaches 8 years of age, weighs more than 80 pounds or stands more than 4 foot 9, a regular seatbelt can be used. Recaro is one company that makes booster seats as well as car seats for smaller kids.

Continue reading more baby information about Infant Crib Necessities

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