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Child Safety Seat: Want some child safety seat information

Updated on June 7, 2008

Among the highest objective for any parent while driving is the safety of their child.

One of the key elements in that plan for any parent/caregiver is selecting the right safety seat for their car. You must consider the weight and height of the child when selecting the proper seat and the weight and height recommendations made by the child safety seat maker.

Trying to find that perfect seat can be difficult sometimes, here are a few things to look for to ensure compatibility of your vehicle and child safety seat.

Car seat placement

Car seats ideally should always be placed in the back seat of the car in the center, center position is considered to be the safest position against any frontal and/or side collision this is particularly important in cars equipped with air bags.

Age and weight

The first considerations are age and weight. Infants under age one and less than 20 pounds, should ride rear-facing in an infant-only or convertible seat not intended for use by older babies, it should be specifically tailored to their size.

On average those older than one but less than four will weigh between 20-40 lbs. These children, of course, are taller than infants and the older they are the taller.

That opens up the possibility of a forward-facing car seat, that is secured with either a seat belt harnesses and tethers or the LATCH system to secure the child restraint, which is a little more convenient for parents. You should still install it in the back seat. Of course, convenience doesn't have to be give up for any of these objectives.

Many car seat models are convertible.

That is, they can be turned from a rear-facing position to forward-facing with a few simple movements. Still, keep in mind the correct age and weight characteristics, because infants do not have the muscle strength and bone strength in their necks and chests to endure a forward facing collision. Their heads are heavy and large in comparison to the rest of their body, and when the head goes forward during a crash it can cause damage to the spinal cord.

Infant seat infant car seat

There's a difference between an infant seat and an infant car seat. The infant seat basically is just a baby carrier with a handle that can be strap into the car using the seat belt, placed on the floor or table at home. A car seat is specifically designed to be used in your car.

Clever designers have blurred the line between the two, fortunately. Many car seat models are available that do allow you to strap the child safely into your car; it can then be unbuckled and used as a carrier.

Since it is to be used in the car, though, it will be important that it satisfies certain criteria. Also the key is a 5-point harness attachment design. This allows parents to use the car's safety restraining belt to attach the car seat at the shoulders, hips and between the legs. That provides a very stable, secure platform.

It's helpful to have an overhead shield, too. These are padded covers that rotate down over the child. A variation is the T-shield, a padded T-shaped section that attaches to the shoulder straps.

Tether strap

Look for a forward-facing car seat equipped with a tether strap, the tether strap is located on the rear of the child car safety seat and it has a strap/hook at the top that can be attached from the top of the child's car seat to an anchor point in your car.

Vehicles manufactured before September 1, 1995 may have safety-belt systems that require additional hardware, such as locking clips, for correct car-seat installation. Contact car manufacturer to order.

Great extra added safety.


LATCH is a newer system that allows a car seat to be installed without seatbelts. It can make it easier to get a proper fit in many vehicles.

LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) will be found on infant seat bases, rear-facing, front-facing and combination booster seats that have an internal harness. LATCH was initially known as ISOFIX; in Canada, it's called LUAS (Lower Universal Anchorage System) or CANFIX, and some car seat companies have their own names for it.

Vehicles made after Sep, 2002 all have anchors located in the back seat, the LATCH systems. Car safety seats that come with LATCH have attachments that fasten to these anchors.

The Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system is designed to make installation of child safety seats easier by requiring child safety seats to be installed without using the vehicle's seat belt system. This eliminates the need to use the car's seat belts which, after all, were designed for larger children and adults.

Other attributes of a good car safety seat can involve convenience for the parent and comfort for the child.

Different sizes and shapes

Like adults children come in all different shape and size, some are slender, others more rounded, some are taller, and some are shorter. That means they all fit a little differently in the seat.

A car safety seat that makes it easy to safely and securely add or remove padding, blankets and more provides additional comfort and safety. Some even have integrated travel vests that can be buckled around the child. Child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71% for infants, and by 54% for toddler's ages 1 to 4 years.

That same safety theme and convenience is carried on by seat designs that make it easy to insert and adjust the restraining straps. Parents should look for a car seat that has a 5-point harness, two piece chest clips, and wide twist-free straps. The 5-point harness is the safest type of harness available. Parents should consider their unique needs when choosing a car seat.

No one wants to sacrifice safety parents are busy folk and it's easy to succumb to the short cut temptation.

A well designed car seat requires only a few seconds to install or move and will satisfies the safety, comfort and convenience needs.


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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Like the article very much.

      One of the best safety tips I can give you is to buy the Amber Alert GPS. I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old. I lost my older son in the mall last spring and words cannot explain how I felt…

      After that, I got both of them the Amber Alert GPS and my wife and I are both connected so that this will never ever happen again.

      Not to mention the protection it provides in case of kidnapping… hope we will never ever need that :)

      You can read about it here:

    • Party Girl profile image

      Party Girl 

      10 years ago

      A great hub full of interesting info.


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