Car crashes kill or injure thousands of people every year. It's your job as a parent to keep your kids safe in your vehicle, and one of the ways to do this is to buy the right children’s car seat. It's crucial to learn about these and how to install them even before your baby is born.
The variety of available car seats for kids confuse many parents.
The firm of Attorney Thomas C. Grajek handles car accident cases, and we want to share some insights on choosing the right seat for your child.
Why Use a Car Seat?
The value of car seats is often only realized during an accident.
- Unrestrained children are at serious risk of injury or death, even from airbags. During a 20-kph crash, an unrestrained four-year-old weighing around 20 kilos will hit anything in their way with the same force as a 360-kilo object.
- Buckle your children in their seats to make sure they are less likely to distract you when you are driving.
- It's even more important for babies and children under two to be restrained in car seats. Their necks and spines are not developed, and their skull bones have not fused. They may suffer brain damage from head injuries.
- Certain seats are useful for specific age and weight groups, which means children's car seat requirements change as they get older. As they outgrow their car seats, it's time to invest in a bigger, more age-appropriate seat.
Types of Car Seats
Consider your child's size, age, and developmental needs when deciding which seat to buy.
The following basic options are available:
- Rear-facing seat: Your baby can use this from the time they leave the hospital until they are a toddler. You can change to a forward-facing seat once your child is 20 to 25 pounds. It is safer to change to a larger rear-facing seat once they reach 40 to 45 pounds.
- Forward-facing seat: Your child must weigh at least 40 pounds or be four years old when you switch to the forward-facing seat.
- Booster seat: Your child should be ready for the booster seat when they’re about 85 pounds and at least 35 inches. You’ll also know that they’re ready for the booster seat when they’ve outgrown the internal harness of the forward-facing seat.
Florida Law on Use of Car Seats
Florida law has the following basic requirements for car seat use:
- Children up to 12 years should be in rear seats as airbags can be dangerous.
- Use a crash-tested and federally-approved seat for all children under six.
- Four to five-year-olds must be in an integrated car seat, booster seat, or separate carrier.
- Use an integrated seat or separate carrier for children under four.
Contact Attorney Thomas C. Grajek at 863-688-4606 for information about protecting your child in your car.
Extra Tips for Car Seats and Child Safety
- Install a seat in every vehicle your child uses. Provide one for carpooling if needed.
- Make sure that children are always buckled up when in the car.
- The seat straps must be snug enough. Many children are in kids’ car seats with straps that are too loose.
- Remove bulky clothing before putting your child in the seat to ensure the straps fit.
- Practice buckling the seat into the car before the baby's first ride. It would be best if you used the lowest harness slots for a newborn.
Call Thomas C. Grajek Today
"You will get three points against your license and a fine if you're caught not using a children’s car seat properly in Florida."
FAQs on The Right Car Seat for Your Child
- Does a car seat for children expire?
Car seats are made of plastic and usually expire between 6 and 10 years. Look for the date of manufacture on the label.
- Can I buy a used car seat for children
The safest option is to purchase a new seat unless you get it from a family member or friend who can tell you its history. When you buy a new seat, you get the latest technology, parts, and instructions.
- How can I make sure the seat lasts for a long time?
Follow the cleaning instructions and do not use harsh chemicals on it. Do not place parts in the washer and dryer unless the manufacturer recommends it.
- Can I move the seat from car to car?
You can move your seat, but seat belt systems and other attachments may not fit the device the same way in every car.