50 years ago, no one would have ever thought to get a Child Car Seat inspected. Children’s car seats were equipped with basic seat belts, boosters and padding. Most car seats were put in the passenger seat.
Today, we know better. Child car seat safety has come a long way since riding shotgun in a circa 1950 Ford. Children no longer sit in the front seat. Until a child reaches the age of 12, in fact, they are supposed to sit in the backseat of your car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration strongly enforces child safety seats, and that all parents and guardians get car seats inspected after installation.
It’s actually very easy to understand why. In honor of National Child Passenger Safety Week, Empire went out and bought a car seat to explore the various safety features. What we found was that car seats, while very safe, could also be very complicated.
Here’s what we learned about installing a car seat:
- Car seats are organized by age. Infants and toddlers will have different car seats than preschoolers and young children.
- Infants and toddlers will have rear facing car seats, while preschoolers and young children will face forward.
- Read the instructions included with your car seat, front to back. Call the manufacturer with any questions about safety features or installation. Also, review your vehicle manual to review how to install a car seat in your make and model.
- When choosing a car seat, choose by height and weight over age. Some children develop later than others.
- Fill out the registration form that comes with your car seat. It’s free to send in, and the manufacturer will have your information in case your car seat gets recalled.
- After installing your seat, check out the Child Car Seat Inspection Station Locator before use. Certified technicians will make sure the seat is properly installed.
- If you’re involved in a serious car crash, replace the car seat. Fender benders and crashes without any injury usually do not apply to this rule. Double check with local certified technicians or your manufacturer to be certain.