A good safety restraint system for your child is the best way to protect your child in the event you are in an accident. While you are driving your child around to school, preschool, or doctor’s appointments, a baby seat or booster seat helps keep them safe. If you are ever in a car accident in Hollywood or any community, a safety restraint system will keep your child from being thrown from the vehicle or from being tossed around inside your car, preventing injury or reducing the severity of injury.
In Florida, baby seats are the law. They’re also just good parenting sense, but with so many options on the market today many parents are confused about which products to buy. The most important thing is to buy the best seat you can and to have it installed and used correctly every time your child is driven somewhere.
To choose the right safety restraint system, follow these tips:
1) Think about your child’s height, weight, and age.
Get the latest height and weight measurements for your child before you go shopping. In general, keep your child in the appropriate child safety system until they outgrow it. “Graduating” your child to a forward-facing seat or a booster seat too soon increases their risk of an injury, so err on the side of caution.
Also, think about your child’s personality when looking at car seats. Your child may be the right height and weight for a specific system, but if they can easily disable the straps or buckles (and do so) they are at risk. If your child hates car seats, fidgets, or tries to unbuckle themselves, look for a system that will keep them in place safely.
2) Read your car owner’s manual.
What safety features are already in place? What are the features potentially affecting a car seat fit? A car seat that easily fits in one car may not be easily installed in another. Consider bringing a photo of your rear seat and a copy of your owner’s manual when you go shopping so you can ask for advice about the best safety system for your car.
3) Browse at first.
Look at lots of car seats, and talk to other parents about car seats they love. Look at online reviews and recalls. Find a seat offering the best safety protection, comfort, and fit for your child. Keep looking until you find the right safety system for your child – it could be one of the most important purchases you make.
4) Get help installing the car seat.
Check the manufacturer’s directions and watch online videos. Even if you’re very sure you’ve got the installation right, visit SeatCheck to get your installation checked by a professional. According to some studies, as many as 70% of parents have incorrectly installed car seats, and incorrect installation can make these safety devices far less effective.
5) Have a plan for your child.
Your child will outgrow their car seat – possibly faster than you expect. In addition, your child may not always be in your car. Have a car seat you can use in taxis or in friends’ cars if your child will be traveling by other cars and keep booster seats or other car seats in mind for when your child outgrows their current system.
6) Look for a new car seat with a JPMA stamp on the box or label.
Look for side impact protection and a 5-point harness system, at minimum. Look for additional safety features if you can afford a more expensive seat with more options. If you are on a budget, you may get more value with a convertible car seat that is also a stroller. Don’t buy a used car seat; it may have invisible damage or may not meet current safety guidelines.
In the past several years, some parents have found that car seats do not always work as advertised. If your child has been injured because of a defective car seat, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation to discuss the legal options that may help protect your family.