7 Things To Look Out For When Buying A Car For Use With Car Seats

car seats for small cars

Children in Back Seat

Its that time when you are expecting your first baby or you are going to have another. It can be quite a conundrum as to what type of car, you need to go for. The safety of the car is definitely one of the most important things to look out for when deciding on a family car, including things such as crash test scores.

However, there are other things that you also need to take into consideration. For instance, the type of car that would be suitable for your family is determined by the size of your car seats. You do not want to buy a mini if you use big seats such as the Britax as these would take up too much space.

However, while it is almost impossible to determine the perfect fit for every parent , there are some fundamental aspects that you need to be looking out for when buying that family car.

Buying A Family Car For Use With Car Seats​

I am sure that most parents know that SUVs, crossovers and wagons are some of the best cars that you should buy if you have a family with small children. However, while these vehicles are child friendly, they do not offer the same advantages when it comes to transporting your children.

Similarly, economy sedans, minis and coupes will give you some problems if you have some of the larger car seats, though this does not mean that you cannot bring them into consideration if you do not like driving large cars or have a small budget.

Check out the best cars for use with three seats in the back here

While legroom and space in the back are important, there are a lot of things that make a car kid friendly rather than just how much space it has. Whether you are for a mini, coupe, wagon, crossover sedan, you need to be looking out for the following characteristics prior to purchase.​

  • Flat, Wide Seat Bottom Cushions - The flatter the seat of the vehicle, the easier and more secure the installation, as you can more easily fasten the child car seat on a more level vehicle seat. Wagons, coupes, and sport sedans usually make it harder to install a baby car seat due to their many contours. The best child car seat is one that is more or less parallel to the ground and possesses little if any rake. As much as possible try to find a car that has a flat center seating position as this is where you need to be installing the car seat for optimum safety for the child. Any car with a hump in the middle of the backseat is not the best for car seats. 

Flat Bottom seats

  • Placement of LATCH Point - A good car is one that has the top tether and lower anchors easily accessible. Check for whether the anchors are hidden under upholstery, flaps, slits, little doors or are in plain easy to ghetto places. Some SUVs are designed such that the top tether anchors are positioned on the ceiling which can sometimes block your view through the rear window.
  • Placement of Seatbelt - If you prefer to install your child safety seats with seat belts or just need to install the seat in the recommended center of the car seat position which does not usually have LATCH, you need to look out for receivers and hitches. These can be problematic if you do not try them out beforehand given that if they are too prominent, they make interfere with the proper and snug installation of the child car seat.
lower anchors and tethers

Easy to Reach Lower Anchors

  • Ease of Access - If you have bulky car seats or tend to shift the baby car seats from car to car, you need to get a car that allows you to get the seat in with a minimum of turning and twisting. A child friendly car will usually have a wide door opening which allows you to get the kid in and out of the vehicle in crowded lots without unnecessarily dinging nearby cars. This is where tall wagons, SUVs and minivans are great a they have wide doorways, and good ground clearance which can also reduce back strain when getting the kid in and out of the car.
  • Distance Between the Front and Rear Seats - For the very small children such as young toddlers and infants, a rear facing installation is what you need. This type of installation will typically take up a lot of space and hence you need a car with enough legroom. Some cars will come designed for ease of aft and fore adjustment for rear seats which makes it easy to slide the seat out of the way when you have to tend to the child's needs and to slide it forward so that you can place a double stroller in your cargo area. 
  • Automatic Retractor Seat Belts - Most modern vehicles will have automatic locking retractor seat belts for the back seat which automatically locks the belt as you pull it all out. A car with such seat belt provides for a snug and safer installation of the car seat, particularly if you like installing with seat belts rather than LATCH. 
  • Fitting Three Across - If you have a big family say a new arrival necessitates the use of three car seats, the question of which car can fit all those car seats will be pertinent. You will either need to find a vehicle that can fit three car seats in the back or check out reviews of the best compact car seats. Fortunately there are many narrow car seats such as the Diono RXT and the Maxi Cosi Pria which are designed for small cars such as minis and Honda civics. If you are on a tight budget, you would be better off buying car seats rather than buying a whole new car. 
Dion r100

Diono with three in the Back

New Child Booster Seat Laws for the UK

The expected child booster seat laws came into force on the 27th of February, earlier than the expected date of first March. These new laws make it illegal for lighter and smaller children to travel in booster seats.

The new UK car seat laws are aimed at addressing pediatric and regulatory concerns that some parents were using booster seats for children that are too small or too young. 

In the new regulations, backless booster seats have to be manufactured such that they can be used for children who weigh at least 22 kg or are 125 cm tall or more. ​With the changes in the law which have come before their expected date many parents are concerned or confused of what to make of them. 

​So here is the gist of what you need to know about the new laws:

​The Law

  • Children must be kept in a booster seat until they are 125 cm tall or 12 years old depending on which is attained first. 
  • You must keep height based seats in the safer rear facing position until the child is at least 15 months old
  • You must keep the weight based car seat in the rear facing mode until the child is at leas 13 kgs - you are allowed to install the seat either in the forward or backward facing mode after this.
  • You must ensure that the child has a seat that comes with a diagonal seat belt unless the seat comes with ISOFIX anchor points, five point harness or is made for lap belts. This rear facing car seat law applies to all including the best rear facing car seat.
  • You must disable the front airbag if you are using a booster seat in the front seat - Read here why It is always advisable that the child rides in the backseat at all times until they are at least 12 years.
  • If you are traveling in a coach, minibus or taxi, the child may travel without a booster seat
  • If you are going on a necessary, urgent or short distance trip, you can use the adult seat belt with a child that is three years or older.
  • You are liable to a fine of up to £100 if you are found traveling with a child without having them in a booster seat appropriate for their weight, height and age. 

The New Regulations

  • According to the new regulations manufacturers now have to adhere to set standards in the designing  of booster seats and will no longer be allowed to manufacturer new design of car seats for children weighing less than 22 kg or shorter than 125 cm.

Implications of the Child Booster Seat Laws

You can still use your backless booster seat without any fear of getting fined under the new laws

Manufacturers are affected more given that government regulators have asserted that the new rules do not make backless booster car seats illegal or unsafe, and hence you can continue using existing models of booster cushions and seats.

The rules are only applicable for products that are still in the shop - these products need to have labels that indicate that the backless boosters will be used for children heavier than 22 kg and taller than 125 cm​

If you are in any other country other than the UK you can check out the safest backless booster seats.

How to Ensure Your Child is Safe

  • Only buy seats that come with an orange label that usually has the code R129 and a capital E on it. If your car seat has such a label you can be confident that it is in compliance with the new safety regulations.
  • If you go for a weight based car seat, you need to remember that the seats are designed for different weights depending on the manufacturer. Check that the car seat has a label with the code ECE R44 and a capital E which means it is an EU approved car seat that you can use in the UK.
  • Always check the car seat manual and ask if it is of the appropriate size and weight for your child
  • Follow the vehicle and car seat manufacturer manual to ensure that the seat is installed correctly and safely. If you can have a certified car seat technician fit the seat or check that it is installed correctly. You can find car seat safety technicians to help with installation at events such as these.
  • Do not buy second hand seats or any seat that is damaged in any way or has been in an accident as its structural integrity is likely compromised. 
  • Check that the car seat model you are looking to buy can be used with your given car model.

It won't affect children who weigh less than 15kg

Currently children weighing as little as 15kg, around three years old, can travel in the backless seats and if you choose to continue with the seat you have then you will NOT be fined, or face any legal action.

child booster seat laws

Girl in a Graco Backlesss Booster

​Children Less than 15 kg

​If your child is 3 years old or younger and weighs less than 15 kg they can still travel in a backless booster seat with no legal implications for you.

Nonetheless, you need to know that the purpose of these new regulations is to make sure that children are as safe as possible during your journeys. As such, if you can use another type of car seat such as a high back booster, a combination or a top quality convertible car seat, it is always advisable to do so.​

Statement from the Department of Transport

​According to a statement released by the department of transport:

New booster cushions without a backrest will only be able to be approved as ‘Group 3’ products, i.e. for children over 125cm or 22kg. Currently, it is possible for these booster cushions to be approved for smaller children. It will only affect new products, not those already on the market. Parents can continue using existing booster seats for children under the minimum height without facing any penalty."

Department of Transport Spokesman 

Booster Cushions are not So Safe

Booster cushions are made to be used as belt positioning devices meaning that in essence they just lift the child up so that the vehicle's regular seat belts fit correctly. They are deficient as compared to the features offered by other types of car seats.

They do not come with side impact protection since they lack side and back wings making them insufficient in the instance of a collision. ​

Expert Opinion

The experts at Good Egg Safety reckon that 34% of 8-11 year olds in the United Kingdom travel without booster seats on journeys on which they would need one. ​

backless booster seat law

Child in a Backless Booster

Kat FurlongSafety Manager

A high-back booster is far more preferable to a booster cushion, to provide children with adequate head, neck and torso protection from side impacts, which booster cushions do not offer. 

We implore parents to buy these instead and ensure they are the right seat for their child and car

Tips for Flying Safely With Children

flying with Children

Family on Travel

As a parent that travels a lot, I have found that if you are travelling with a toddler or very young kid, the more prepared you are, the more you and the kid will be comfortable.

With a little bit of preparation you can plan and prepare your trips including things such as what to look for when choosing a good travel car seat (usually FAA Approved) navigating through the airport, and safe travel while inside the plane.

Check out the best FAA Approved car seats here.

Selecting a Good Car Seat

There are many good car seats on the market, but if you are a regular traveler, you need to find one that is made for flying. 

 Most car seats including convertible car seats, infant car seats, combination and all in one car seats can be used on an aircraft.

You need to buy a car seat or child restraint that has a sticker with the words "this restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft"

However you need to know that belt positioning booster seats are not approved for flying. Since these car seats require shoulder and lap belts to function at maximum effectiveness, they will not be safe on the aircraft, which only comes with lap belts.

Planning Your Trip: Recommended Seating and Traveling

Children 40 pounds and below

It is recommended that any child weighing in at 40 pounds or less travel in a child safety restraint system or a harnessed child safety seat.

Even as it is not against regulations for your child that is aged 2 or below to ride on your lap in-flight, your kid will be safer if you buy them a child safety seat to enhance their safety during landing, takeoff and periods of turbulence.

Children over 40 pounds

If the child is over 40 pounds, they can be safe and secure in their own seat as long as they use the aircraft lap belt correctly.

However, if you brought the car seat along to use on the car when you get off the plane at your destination, it will always be safer to install the car seat on the airplane instead of using the lap belts.

Most boosters seats will be great for use in airplane travel.

Preparing for Your Trip: Buying Your Tickets

Choosing a flight

Given that having a child in their own seat can add some considerable cost to your travel budget, it would be better to go for a flight that is in the off peak hours. I always recommend that you call the airline ahead of time and ask for a flight that is likely not to be full.

It is also important to confirm the flight regulations and guidelines that the airline may have for parents traveling with children. Airlines will have different regulations including seating positions allowed, documentation for kids below a certain age, and minimum age for travel. Ensure that you are not in violation of any airline or FAA guidelines before booking your ticket.

Seating positions

A window seat is always the best seat for your kid. Installing the car seat on the window seat kills two birds with one stone as the seat will not be in the way of other passengers that may need to exit or enter the row and the baby will not be disturbed during the flight.

Preparing for the flight

Your Baby

During the flight, you can reduce any stress and meltdowns by following the following recommendations:

  1. When deciding on what your child will wear during the flight go for accessories, shoes and clothes that do not have any metallic components that may trigger airport security alarms causing unnecessary delays.
  2. If you can review the regulations of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) on the security screening processes they require for children of different ages.
  3. Ensure that you have talked to the child about the screening procedures before your reach the airport. For instance, you can reduce the child anxiety and fear by telling them that they may have to be separated from their favorite toys such as baby dolls and teddy bears for a few minutes while undergoing a security check.
  4. Make sure that you bring along anything that the child may need on the flight such as books to keep them occupied, toys, favorite snacks and changing materials for a stress free flight.
  5. If you are travelling with an infant, toddler or even an older kid make sure you dress them in comfortable and easy to change outfits. If you are nursing, you need to ditch the adorable overalls and find something that offer easy nursing access. Trust me, you can find some elegant tops, tees, & dresses that will ensure you look just as great.
  6. Bring along the child's favorite activity to keep them busy during the flight. If your child loves some cartoons you can bring along some on your iPad or food is their thing, bringing along a lot of snacks could save you from a lot of frustration.

Check out the baby travel packing list here

Luggage

It is very important to check out the TSA and FAA websites for information such as what type of luggage is classified as carry on. If you are traveling with items such as baby food, breast milk or changing clothes you need to know which ones are allowed on board and also ensure that your essential items are in the carry on luggage before hand.

During the Trip: The Airport

Toting a car seat, luggage and a child through an airport can be quite a cumbersome if not outright unpleasant experience. However you can make this better through some accessories that will make transporting car seat easier.

  • Car Seat Travel Cart: Combination to booster and convertible car seats are easy to transport in the airport using a travel car as they can be anchored to the cart using their LATCH connectors. You can have it even easier and more convenient by securing the child on the safety seat and rolling them across the airport while they are on the cart. A good thing with car seat travel carts is that most of them can be folded for easy storage in the overhead compartment.
  • Car Seat Travel Bag: If you need more protection to the car seat than the travel cart offers, then you could go for the car seat travel bag. Some travel bags have wheel while others can be easily carried like a backpack which makes the transportation of seats very convenient.

During the Trip: On the plane

Installing the car seat on the Plane

Install the car seat on window seat using the lap belts on the aircraft seat. For children below the age of two, install the car seat in rear facing mode and forward facing mode for toddlers and older children. If the aircraft does not have enough space to install the seat in the rear facing mode, you should maybe book bulkhead seats which tend to be roomier.

Ear pressure

Changes in altitude during take off and landing may be uncomfortable for toddlers and infants. Have the child on a pacifier or give them food and drink during these periods as it helps make reduce altitude pressures.

Make Sure to Relax

You can never plan for a baby that screams for an entire six hour flight and so for peace of mind, do not stress about things like that. If your kid happens to be in the mood for screaming their lungs out, it is no big deal, just apologize to your aisle mates, and buy them a $5 dollar cocktail if you wish. You will likely never see them again.

Toddler Car Seat Safety: The Dos and Dont’s

toddler car seat safety

I think you will agree with me when I say that once that sweet little child becomes a toddler, strapping them in and keeping them strapped in becomes so much harder.

Why you ask?

Well at this age the child is very much interested in a lot of things and will not be shy to reach out for them or let you know that they want to get out of that constricting car seat.

This can make for quite for some stressful trip, even if it is just a short trip to the store to get some milk.

Nonetheless, while a toddler can be quite a handful, you can still keep them safe in their car seat by following the following tips and recommendations.

toddler car seat safety

Baby in Toddler Car Seat

Types of Toddler Car Seats

When it comes to your kids toys, clothes or the paint in their nursery, how cute they make the room or kid look will come into consideration. However when it comes to car seats, it is more important that you take consideration safety rather than beauty. The following are some of the toddler car seats to use with your baby. It is important to note that a good toddler car seat needs to have a 5 point harness for enhanced safety.

  • Best 3 in 1 (All in one) Similar to the common convertible car seat, these seats can be used as rear facing car seats then transition to forward facing car seats and lastly into boosters. Given its typically bigger size, it is important to consult the manufacturer manual prior to buying to ensure it is a good fit for your vehicle.
  • Best Convertible car seat – Most convertible car seats can be used in the forward and rear facing mode. While they are heavier than infant car seats they do not come with bases or carrier handles. Given that they can be used in rear and front facing mode, these seats can accommodate a toddler up to between 40 to 50 pounds making them a good option for your big toddler.
  • Best Rear Facing Car Seat – These types of car seats include combination and infant car seats that can accommodate children from 5 pounds up to about a year old for infant seats and up to 12 years for the best combination car seats.

How to Use a Toddler Car Seat

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When to Shift to a Forward Facing Car Seat

As I have always said, it is always advisable to keep the child in the rear facing mode until they are at least two years old. If you can keep them there for longer, you should definitely do it until they reach the maximum weight recommended for the given seat. What makes the rear facing car seat so safe for toddlers and babies is that they offer much needed support for the kid’s spine, neck and head protecting them from whiplash injuries in the instance of a crash.

When to Switch from Latch to Seat Belt

Since 2002, the NHTSA has required that all passenger vehicles come with Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH). LATCH is safer than the conventional seat belts whose installation was not as standardized or as safe. LATCH comes with a tether that you can easily attach to the car seat and anchor it on an anchor point inbuilt on the vehicle seat. Check your car seat and vehicle owners manual for instructions on how to use the LATCH system. If your car was manufactured before 2002, you can still use seat belts as long as you ensure the installation is as safe as possible. While LATCH is the safest way of installing a child safety seat, the NHTSA recommends that for kids above age 3, you should switch to seat belts as the LATCH anchors are not strong enough to take the weight of the child and the seat in the instance of a crash. As such it is important to check the age and weight limit of the car seat to ensure that your toddler is safe when using LATCH.

Toddlers and Booster Seats

While it can be very tempting to transition the child to a booster car seat, I would not advise that a toddler ride in a booster seat. A toddler in this instance means any child younger than 4 years old. For the child younger than 4, they need to be riding in a car seat with a five point harness typically a convertible, combination, or all in one until they attain or outgrow the forward facing car seat weight and height limits.

Even when the child attains that age, ensure their safety by transitioning them using belt positioning booster seats. If you are using an all in one car seat, you can transition it to a booster seat. You can only transition the child to seat belts when they are about 4 foot 9 in height and about 80 pounds typically at about 12 years of age.

Toddler Car Seats Safety for Toddlers

  1. Review Car Seat Safety Guidelines – You can have the right toddler car seat but if the child is not strapped in properly or you do not know how to use the safety seat, your child will not  ride safely. Even if you have been using car seats for a very long time, it is still very critical to check out manufacturer recommendations, car seat safety tips and vehicle manuals to ensure the child is safe. Always install the car seat in the backseat of the car and for even better install it in the middle of the seat.
  2. Ensure a Professional Inspects the New Car Seat – Always find a certified car seat inspection technician to inspect the car seat and the installation before you start using it. You can find an inspector for your car seat here.
  3. Check for Harness Fit – For utmost safety, check that the harness straps are below or at the child’s shoulders with the top of the chest clip at the level of the toddlers armpits. for a snug tight fit, you should get no more that two fingers between the child’s body and the harness strap.
  4. Do not Dress the Kid in Bulky Clothing – Bulky clothing make the harness straps fit poorly on the child’s body. As such you need to avoid any bulky snowsuits, winter jackets or any other clothing that adds an extra layer between the strap and the baby. If you think it is too cold, you can protect the child from the cold by laying a blanket over them or using a suitable sweater.
  5. Keep Little Arms and Fingers Safe  – Toddlers being toddlers  get bored and start playing with push button operated windows. To keep the child safe ensure the windows are locked and controlled from the drivers seat. Give the child some toys or books to play with to reduce the temptation of playing with windows.
  6. Tether Toys – At an age when your kids wants to always be doing things, having to sit still in a car seat for even five minutes can be incredibly boring for them. To ensure that your child is never bored give them some safe toys which you can attach to the car seat. Ensure that the toys are not anything sharp or one that they can hurl at you or harm themselves with.
  7. Do not Leave the Kid in the Car – With research showing that can heat or cool down at up to twenty degrees in 10 minutes, any child younger than 4 can be in grave danger from heat or cold if you leave them in the car given their large surface area to volume rations. To ensure you do not leave the child in the car always put something important there such a briefcase o purse so that you would have to check in there before leaving.
  8. Use the Car Seat Only for Travel – Car seats are not made for any use outside of travel. While a car seat makes the child safe while traveling, allowing the child to snooze in the child safety seat can be very dangerous and could result to severe causes such as suffocation or strangulation.

Related Links

Most comfortable Backless Booster Seat

Booster Seat Safety: {ULTIMATE GUIDE} to Safe Usage of Booster Seats

Even as most parents have fond memories of jumping up and down on the back of the family station wagon without caring for seatbelts, we have to acknowledge that as much fun as it was, it was very dangerous.

In modern times, we drive a lot more than in our times and our children will likely spend much more time in our vehicles that we used to before the invention of the car seat.

While, the the use of car seats and seat belts has resulted in a significant decrease in death and injuries, crashes still account for millions of deaths of children above 3 years.

graco backless booster

While seat belts are a good invention, they are inadequate to protect your child as they are made for adult bodies and hence they are not fit for your child. This is where top rated booster seats will come in handy.

The best child booster seat lessen the chance of your child getting injured in a crash by up to 45% since true to their name, they boost the child to ensure that the seat belts and the vehicles lap are strapped on tightly. Children that ride without using a seat belt without a booster seat have a higher chance of injury as compared to those that do.

If you do not make use of a booster seat, the lap belt will more likely than not rest on the child’s belly which may result in injuries to the spleen, stomach, and liver if you happen to get in a crash.

Additionally, without a booster seat the shoulder belt will lie on the child’s neck as opposed to the chest which could make the child attempt to move it below the arm (it could cause internal damage by cracking ribs) or behind the back (could result in spinal injuries and leaves the neck and head completely unprotected.

As such the NHTSA recommends that all children travel in a booster seat if they have outgrown the convertible car seat, They should ride in a booster seat till they reach a height of about 4 feet 9 or about the age of 8.

Moreover, most states have now made it mandatory to strap the child into a booster car seat. It is only in South Dakota, Florida and Arizona where it is not a requirement for children to ride in a booster car seat. The Insurance institute for Highway Safety has the map showing the different guidelines for each state.

Nevertheless, even if you are not legally required to use a booster car seat in your state, it is advisable to use one. The lack of proper restraints resulted in the death of over 1300 children and 179,000 injuries that would have been avoided had they been strapped into booster seats.

Majority of these tragedies happened in undivided highways or local roads as opposed to high speed collisions that many associate such accidents with. Half of the accidents were in streets in which the legal limit does not exceed 44 miles per hour.

Majority of these tragedies happened in undivided highways or local roads as opposed to high speed collisions that many associate such accidents with. Half of the accidents were in streets in which the legal limit does not exceed 44 miles per hour.

According to Stephanie Tombrello Safety Belt USA Executive Director,

“The trick is to ensure we have lesser judgment lapses where we say things such as “we are just going to the grocery store . Ask yourself were I to be involved in a crash would I be confident in how my child is strapped in? and ensure your child always rides that way everyday”

For parents that are short on time, convenience is usually a touchy issue, and hence Tombrello asserts that having a system which is consistent yet simple would automate the process ensuring your child is safe.

For instance, families with two cars ought to have a booster seat in each vehicle as opposed to trying to switch booster seats from one car to another – which may be ignored when you have a frantic morning.

How to Find the Best Child Booster Seat

  1. While a booster seat may be up to scratch with regard to meeting standards of safety set by the state and federal government, it may still be unsafe if it is not used or installed correctly. The best and safest booster seat is therefore a car seat that offers ease of installation and use and offers best fit for your car and the child.
  2. For children that are less that 40 pounds a booster seat or a combination seat that are fitted with a removable five point harness as opposed to convertible car seats. A five point harness is safer since the child is restrained at both the hips and the shoulders which would make them less susceptible to injury in a crash as the forces are distributed to the body’s strongest parts.
  3. Always make use of the harness for as long as is practical for maximum safety of your child. As such it is critical to go for a car seat that comes with adjustable harness strap height settings particularly if you have a tall baby.
  4. Avoid older convertible or combination seats that make use of T-Shaped shields as during a crash most of the force of the collision will be on the child sensitive parts. Furthermore, while lacking a five point harness, such seat have been found to be not as comfortable as booster seats.
  5. Children that are chubbier will also be uncomfortable with such seats as the shield or tray may press on their belly or thighs. You may also have problems getting the tray over their head if you have a tall child.
  6. When the child outgrows the booster or combination seat such that the top harness strap lots are below their shoulders, you can remove the back and harness and use the booster seat to ensure they are strapped in tightly with vehicle shoulder and lap belts. Alternatively you simply move to a simpler booster seat that is backless.

best <a style=graco backless booster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For vehicles with rear seats that are sitting low, a high back model which offers better neck and head support in the instance of a rear collision would be best. For rear seats that are of sufficient height to offer support to the neck and head though they have deep contours, a backless model will be a better fit as it wont be prone to tipping over as compared to the high back model.

According to auto safety experts, the backless booster seats are recommended since they make it easier for the child to sit more snugly in the seat as they can sit further back making the use of seat belts and lap belts more effective.

However, it is important not to buy second hand backless car seats which are designed with the shield style closure since they have been determined to be unsafe by the NHTSA.

Features of Top Rated Booster Seats

  • For whatever booster car seat that you will opt for, you need to be sure that it comes with a guide on how to install and position the car’s shoulder belt, so that it is on the right height on the chest of the child. It is critical to ensure that the car seat installation guide shows how to easily retract the seat belt.
  • The majority of high back and chair booster will come fitted with side clip cheapativanpriceonline.com ons. The best booster seats will usually have different height positions that will allow for adjustment to take into account the needs of the child as they grow. Backless booster seat should come with a detachable belt positioning clip guide that shows you how to position the lap belt at the hips and most importantly how to affix the shoulder belt’s lower end.
  • Several types of high back booster seats will have padded wing like protrusions on their headrests. These will come in handy to offer greater comfort for your child if they have a tendency to fall asleep during travel.
  • Some booster and convertible seat combos come with a recline feature for the child that has a tendency to sleep during travel. Nevertheless, such seats tend to exert much more pressure on the child’s groin during a collision and hence you have to take this into consideration when buying this type of car seat. It is also critical to keep in mind that a car seat ought to be reclined no more that 20-30 degrees from the vertical. If you incline the car seat more than this, it could result in the seat belt not being tight enough which could cause the kid to slide out in the instance of a collision.
  • The size of the child is another factor that you ought to take into account when analyzing the features of the booster car seat. For stocky children, find a booster seat that has an adjustable or wide base. For tall children, find a booster seat whose base is roomier or one with higher shoulder strap slots.

How to Install  A Booster Seat Correctly

Test It Before Purchase

Booster seats are made to be used with the vehicle’s shoulder and lap-belts and hence their installation is relatively easy as simply  installing them on top of the vehicles rear seat. Nevertheless, you have to make sure that the booster seat lies flat on the seat in order to reduce the possibility of tipping over.

If it is possible you should test the seat by having your child sit in it before you make the purchase.

Determine if the Child is Ready for a Booster Seat

A major mistake that parents make is switching to a booster seat before the child is ready. Some parents switch to a booster seat while the child has not yet attained the height to make the use of a booster seat safe.

Even as most booster seat and car seat combo manuals assert that such seats may be used without a harness of the child is 30 pounds and above, in truth, only a thin and tall child that has outgrown the harness yet is below 40 pounds could ride safely in such seats.

For the majority of kids though, it is advisable that you you employ the use of the harness till they are at least 40 pounds.

Children that tend to be especially active need the harness more since they may push the shoulder belt under the arm or get out of the seat belt. Having the five point harness will make it harder for them to struggle out of the shoulder or seat belt.

To determine your child’s readiness for switching to a booster seat , make her sit in the backseat of the vehicle and check whether she can sit with with bended knees at the edge of the seat while sitting all the way back in the seat.

If the child is not ready for the booster seat, she will slide forward or slouch and the legs will be sticking out rather than being bended at the knees.

Keeping her in the booster, check how the seat belts are positioned. The lap belt ought not to be at the belly but should be at the hips on top of the thighs. The shoulder belt ought not to be on the upper arm or the neck but should be on the center of the chest landing on the shoulder.

Install the Booster Seat in the Appropriate Position

The safest position to install booster seats and indeed all convertible car seats is the center of the back seat as this is the position that offers the most safety to the child in the instance of side impact. However many older vehicle models have only the lap belt in the center seat which would not anchor the seat properly.

If the center seat only has the lap belt do not install the booster seat on the center as this could be dangerous. Instead anchor the booster seat on the seat that has both lap and shoulder belts.

For parents that have to travel with two children, how you position the booster seats will be determined by the backseat contours and the type of seat belts in your vehicle. If possible, I would advise having one child on the right side and one in the center of the back seat.

Nevertheless, if your children are the type to grab pinch and poke each other you had better have the center as a buffer zone so that they do not distract you from driving.

In this instance, the younger child ought to ride on the right side given that you may have to check up on him far more than the older one. Alternatively, you could have seat belts installed in the center of the back seat. You can find a retrofit kit from Amazon.

It goes without saying that your child that is younger than 13 should always ride in the back seat rather than the front seat.

This is particularly so if your vehicle has air bags in the passenger side of the car. While airbags may save the life of an adult, they can be very dangerous to the child since they can result in severe neck and head injuries during a collision.

Make Use of a Belt Positioning Clip

Some booster seats will come with belt positioning clips that may come in handy since they can be attached using a special strap on the backless models or on the sides of high back booster seats.

The clips are useful in ensuring that the shoulder belt goes over your child’s chest in the recommended manner. If the your car’s shoulder belt goes over the chest and is on the shoulder you do not need to use these clips.

belt positioning clip

Employ an Anchoring System

If you are using a combo booster seat an anchoring system could come in really handy. All combo car seats that have been manufactured since 2002 now come with the LATCH system.

LATCH is a combination of lower and top anchors that are made into the back seat of the vehicle that hooks on the car seat thus enhancing their safety. It is a requirement that all front facing car seats have both lower and upper attachments.

The LATCH system is made to ease the installation process of the combo car seat thus making seat belts unnecessary. However you still have to make use of seat belts if you are using rear facing car seats.

Even as some recent models of booster seats come with lower anchors for better positioning, LATCH is not a necessity for all booster seats given that shoulder and lap belts are a requirement in order to securely strap in your child when using booster seats.

For more information regarding safest booster seats and their usage visit the NHTSA Website.

How to Install a Booster Seat Video

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