Your child is getting so massive! So, it stands to cause that you simply is perhaps considering it’s time to commerce your toddler automobile seat for one which’s extra toddler-friendly. However what makes a automobile seat toddler-friendly? And, extra importantly, what makes a automobile seat toddler-secure? Right here, we break it down for you:
The Three Kinds of Toddler Automotive Seats
First, a bit of rewind to whenever you purchased your very first automobile seat—you bought one in all these three sorts:
- Toddler-only automobile seat: can solely be used rear-facing and, properly, with infants
- Convertible automobile seat: can change from rear-facing to forward-facing, which permits tots to remain safely rear-facing longer
- All-in-one automobile seat: just like a convertible automobile seat, however with the added bonus of morphing right into a booster seat
When to Transfer Your Kiddo to a Toddler Automotive Seat
Right here’s the deal: You need to maintain your little one in a rear-facing automobile seat for so long as humanly attainable. For those who’re in a front-end crash (the commonest sort), the arduous shell of the rear-facing seat absorbs nearly all of the impression, all whereas persevering with to assist your baby’s wee head, neck, and backbone. (When you flip your little one to forward-facing, the automobile seat’s harness works the toughest to restrain your little one, which might trigger extreme jolting, probably inflicting head and backbone accidents.) That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges dad and mom to maintain children rear-facing till they’ve outgrown the burden or top restrict of their automobile seat. Which means you need to go by scale and stature, not age. (Information flash: The forward-facing-by-age-2 recommendation is outdated and unsafe!)
The excellent news? For those who’ve received a Toddler Car Seat, your kiddo can doubtless stay rear-facing safely and comfortably till they attain 40 or 50 kilos. Bear in mind, earlier than you commerce your rear-facing seat for a forward-facing one, ask your self:
✔ Has my little one outgrown their seat? Once more, that’s decided by weight and top, not age.
✔ Is it lawful? Do you know it’s in opposition to the legislation to put a toddler below the age of two in a forward-facing automobile seat in over a dozen states? It’s true. To see the legal guidelines the place you reside, seek the advice of SafeRides4Kids.
✘ Is my kiddo cramped or complain-y? Toddlers usually have an extended checklist of dislikes, from the way in which you peeled their banana to the colour of right this moment’s sippy cup. Fickleness shouldn’t dictate security. Plus, toes touching the automobile’s backseat, is not an indicator that your tot must be turned forward-facing, in line with the AAP, which notes that youngsters are fairly darn versatile they usually can simply get cozy in a rear-facing seat. (PS: A number of rear-facing automobile seats will be put in pretty upright as soon as your tot has good head and neck management, which permits for extra leg room.)
What to Search for in a Toddler Automotive Seat
In case your little one has for-sure outgrown their rear-facing seat, you’ll want a forward-facing seat with a five-point harness and a high tether. (High tethers safe forward-facing toddler automobile seats, retaining them from tipping ahead in a crash.) These seats usually maintain a toddler secure and comfy as much as roughly 65 kilos. Whereas there’ll at all times be issues like funds, ease-of-install, and luxury, know this: All automobile seats on the market within the U.S. meet federal security requirements in a 30-miles-per-hour crash take a look at. With that, listed here are some shopping for suggestions:
- Examine top and weight limits. Even when your tot has outgrown their present rear-facing seat, that doesn’t imply they will’t be rear-facing of their new toddler automobile seat. Quite a few toddler seats have a rear-facing weight restrict as much as 50 kilos.
- Search for match. Not all toddler automobile seats slot in all automobiles! For instance, some all-in-one automobile seats could also be too giant to securely slot in compact automobiles. Due to this, you’ll need to measure the out there house in your automobile’s backseat earlier than deciding on a toddler automobile seat. (And think about the potential want for becoming multiple automobile seat again there.) Additionally, check out the automobile seat in your car earlier than buy, if attainable. Alternatively, make certain the shop you purchase from has a great return coverage in case you run into match points.
- Contemplate side-impact safety. Proper now, there are no authorities requirements for side-impact testing within the U.S. for automobile seats. (That ought to change by 2022, fingers crossed.) Which means every automobile seat producer might take a look at side-impact in another way. That mentioned, it’s nonetheless a good suggestion to search for a toddler automobile seat with some form of added side-impact safety.
- Seek the advice of the specialists. Ask pals; speak to people who’re driving your identical automobile and utilizing the automobile seat you’ve gotten your eye on; and pay a go to to the Automotive Seat Examine at Vehicles.com, the place licensed little one passenger security technicians take a look at automobiles’ skill to accommodate completely different automobile seats.
- Examine ease-of-install. Many toddler automobile seats are designed to work with a automobile’s LATCH (Decrease Anchors and Tethers for Youngsters) system. That is an easy-to-use assortment of automobile and automobile seat connectors and hooks that make secure insulation simpler. For extra perception, the Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration (NHTSA) has ease-of-use scores for every automobile seat they assessment.
- Be aware of hand-me-downs. Like milk, avocados, and tween developments, toddler automobile seats expire. The same old lifespan of a automobile seat is 6 years. To ensure yours continues to be recent, examine Date of Manufacture (DOM) on one of many many, many labels affixed to the automobile seat. (The serial quantity is commonly on the identical label.) If the automobile seat is used, however not expired, you need to nonetheless stroll away if the seat in query…
- Has cracks
- Is lacking the DOM label or any elements
- Has been in even a minor automobile accident
- Has been recalled. To study recollects, go to the automobile seat part of NHTSA’s
Additional Toddler Automotive Seat Options to Contemplate
We all know that every one automobile seats meet federal security requirements, which is superior. However some dad and mom might need to think about additional options that may up security, consolation, or ease-of-installation. Some extras to contemplate embody:
- Anti-rebound bar: If in an accident, this helps the automobile seat cease transferring prior to it will have if the bar wasn’t there.
- No-rethread harness: A convertible automobile seat with a no-rethread harness means which you can simply regulate the seat with out reconfiguring the seatbelt.
- Detachable and mechanically cleanable seat pads: This makes cleansing up inevitable backseat accidents and spills means simpler.
- Headrest wings: Mandatory? No. Completely useful (and comfortable) when your tyke dozes within the automobile? Sure certainly.
- Connected cup holder: For those who don’t need to be passing again sippy cups and water bottles, it is a key characteristic for a lot of.
Toddler Booster Seats
Booster seats are the final cease on the way in which to seatbelts—and there’s no rush to get there! Usually, kiddos might be able to graduate to the booster after they’re at the least 4 toes 9 inches tall. That’s often between the ages of 8 and 12. (However every state’s booster seat legal guidelines differ, so examine.) With this kind of security seat, the booster actually boosts your little one up in order that the lap and shoulder seat belts match throughout their physique correctly. Your rising little one could also be booster-ready if:
- They surpass the peak or weight limits of their forward-facing automobile seat.
- Their shoulders lengthen above the highest harness slots.
- The tippy tops of their ears have reached the tippy high of the automobile seat.
By the way in which, many booster seats are LATCH suitable. Simply know this: The anchors are supposed to maintain the booster seat in place, not the kid. The automobile’s personal seatbelt is what retains your little one secure.