The Do’s and Don’ts of Selecting a Child Car Safety Seat

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for kids under the age of 13. Those statistics are enough to frighten any parent to want to keep their little ones out of the car as much as possible. One thing that parents and auto accident attorneys alike never want to have to handle are injuries to a child. However, you don't have to become anti-car hermits to keep your children safe. Follow these do's and don'ts when selecting a child car safety seat to prevent injuries to your little ones when on the road.

Do Make Sure to Choose a Seat That Fits the Child Perfectly

You may be able to get a lot of use out of a car seat that can expand and grow with your child, but it should always be able to fit the child perfectly at every stage of the way. If not, buy a new one. It's not worth the risk otherwise. The car seat must be a fit for both the child's current size and their age. You may want to consider these general car seat types, but you may find that your child fits an in-between age and size, so take great care to pick the one that best serves their needs.

  • Rear-Facing Car Seat – This is used for infants from birth through toddlerhood around the age of 3.
  • Forward-Facing Car Seat – This type of seat is used for kids between the ages of one and 7.
  • Booster Seat – This car seat is used for older kids from age 4 through 12, depending on their size.
  • Seat Belt – Finally, kids graduate to using seatbelts like adults between the ages of 8 and 13.

There is no one-size-fits-all model, and your kid may need car seats that overlap the general age ranges.

Don't Buy a Used Car Seat for Your Child

You should probably not buy a used car seat for your child. All car seats expire, and it can be hard to really get the full information you need on a car seat when it's used. The exception to this rule would be if you know the person who is selling it very well and can be sure to get all the necessary information on it as well as all the seat's components.

Do Follow All Instructions Carefully

Car seats seem self-explanatory, right? It seems so simple, especially if you've used a car seat before for an older child. However, it is extremely important to read all instructions that come with the car seat. The manufacturer has detailed instructions for the purposes of keeping your child safe. Check height and weight limits on the manufacturer's instructions, too, and also read your vehicle owner's manual for information on installing the car seat correctly.

Finally, keep in mind that personal injury attorneys are pained to see children injured in auto accidents, and it happens far too often. Make sure to put your kids in car safety seats every time you are in the car until they completely outgrow them. It's better to arrive safe and sound than with regrets.