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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Put your child in the right seat

Learn the trhee type of seats for a safe ride
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Put your child in the right seat

Child safety restraints are not a case of “one size fits all”. As your child grows up, you will need to change the type of child seat to one that is designed to fit children of specific heights and weights.

The three main types of seats for children are infant carriers, forward-facing seats, and booster seats.

Rear-facing infant carriers

An infant seat is designed for babies from birth until they weigh about 10kg or are one year of age. Rear-facing seats provide greater protection for a baby’s head, neck and spine than forward-facing seats. So keep babies in the back seat, rear-facing, for as long as they fit the weight and age criteria.

Infant carriers may come with or without a removable base. Many of them are fitted using an adult lap and shoulder belt while the child is restrained by a harness within the carrier.

Never place a rear-facing infant seat in the front seat with a passenger air bag as the child may sustain serious injuries if the air bag inflates.

Babies can move to a forward-facing seat once they have exceeded the maximum weight for the infant carrier, or the top of their head is higher than the top of the seat.

Forward-facing car seats

Once a child has outgrown a rear-facing infant seat, is heavy enough and able to sit up unaided, you can switch to a forward-facing restraint. This type of seat is usually meant for children weighing around 10 to 18kg (approximately between one to four years old).

The design consists of a seat shell attached to a frame. The child is secured in the seat by an integral five-point harness, while the frame is attached to the car, usually by seatbelts.

Forward-facing car seats can be used in the front or back, although it is safer to put them in the rear, especially if there is a passenger airbag in the front. Once again, it is safest to keep children in this type of car seat until they have outgrown it. 

Move children to a booster seat only when they have exceeded the maximum weight for the child seat, or the top of their head is higher than the top of the seat.

Booster seats and cushions

Booster seats are used by older children, around four years and older, and weighing 15kg or more, who have outgrown their car seats. This type of seat raises the child’s height so that the adult safety belt fits correctly.

Booster seats may come with a back rest and side wings which provide side impact protection. Some booster seats can be converted into a booster cushion by detaching the back rest. An ordinary cushion from home cannot be used as a substitute.

As such seats don’t have an integral harness, it is important to ensure that the car seat belt is worn correctly. Booster cushions cannot be used in seating positions fitted only with an adult lap-belt.

Booster seats and cushions can be used in the front or back of the car, but it is safer to put them in the rear.


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