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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Get proper seats for kids

Here are some tips on how to select the right seats for your child
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Get proper seats for kids

Safety belts are not suitable for children, as they are designed for adult body sizes. Babies, toddlers and young children need different protection as their musculoskeletal systems are not fully developed. Until a child is big enough to wear a safety belt correctly, he or she should use a child safety seat.

How child safety seats work

According to safety experts, an unrestrained child in a moving car becomes a human projectile during a collision. Being secured in a properly fitted child restraint prevents a child from being thrown about inside, or ejected from, the vehicle.

The restraint allows the child’s body to stop moving as the vehicle decelerates. This reduces the forces on the child’s body and prevents contact with hard surfaces inside the vehicle, with other occupants, or other vehicles. Child seats also absorb some of the impact force and distribute the force of a crash to the strongest parts of the skeleton (hips, back and shoulders).

Toddlers have relatively large heads and small necks. In a front-facing car seat, the force of a crash can jerk the child's head, causing spinal-cord injuries. Rear-facing car seats keep the head, neck and spine fully aligned so that the force of the crash is distributed over these body areas.

What the experts recommend

In the United States, the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration both recommend that all infants be placed in rear-facing seats.

If a baby outgrows the an infant seat, parents should switch to a rear-facing car seat until the child turns two, or until he or she reaches the highest weight or height allowed by the car safety seat’s manufacturer.

Older children who have outgrown front-facing car seats should ride in booster seats help position adult seat belts properly on children's smaller frames.

All children should ride in the back whenever possible. It is considered safer there as it is further from the front, the most common point of impact of an accident.

Never place an infant in a rear-facing child safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger-side air bag. The force of the deploying air bag will hit the seat and can cause  serious injury or even kill an infant.

Child seat compatibility and installation

When choosing a child seat, get one that is suitable for your child’s size, fits your vehicle and that you can install and use easily.

If you’re accepting a hand-me-down, do so with caution. Never use one that has missing parts or that you know was in a crash, because its structure may have been damaged by the previous impact.

Read both the vehicle owner’s manual and the car seat instructions to make sure you install the child seat correctly. The installation procedure can be different for various car makes because of the seat belt configuration, vehicle seat design and type of child safety seat. To be effective, the safety seat must be held tightly with the vehicle’s safety belt. An improperly installed seat doesn’t offer any protection.

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