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August 13, 2020
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Choosing the Safest Child Restraint
Posted On: Jul 30, 2010

Choosing the Safest Child Restraint

What parent doesn’t want the best for his child? This applies to car safety as well. Even if we think accidents happen to others and not necessarily occur in our very case, well, we have to admit that from the moment we are inside the car, the accident risk is assumed.

Car crashes injure and unfortunately kill numerous children each year. This represents the leading cause of death and injury for children under five. All cars in the traffic are built for grownups and children do not fit into the seats or the seatbelt systems built for adults, consequently each child needs to be protected according to the law and to his/her size.

Oftentimes the injuries are due to the incorrect child restraint use, where for instance the child is too young or small for the restraint, fact that makes the restraint basically useless. It is imperative that you, as a parent, choose the restraint that provides the highest protection level for your child. It is also required by law that every child must use a proper restraint when traveling by car or other vehicle.

You as father/mother, have the responsibility to use the restrain correctly for each child passenger. I have gathered here some tips that indicate and help you choose the safest restraint for your child. There are many restraints designs/producers; however, the main aspect is this: they must match your child’s height and weight.

When you buy a child restraint keep in mind to:

a. measure the height and weight of the child;
b. make sure the restraint fits your car/vehicle;

Use the most suitable restraint for your child’s size and age and move him/her to the next category only when the restraint doesn’t fit them any longer.

When you install and place your child in a restraint you should always follow the manufacturer's instructions; it is hazardous to install it incorrectly or to use one that is not appropriate for your child’s size. This puts the child at higher risk of serious injury or even death.

Be extra careful if purchasing or borrowing a used restraint. Use a second-hand restraint only when you know its history or if the case, when you obtain it from a trustworthy source. If the restraint you want to buy has any of the following sings, you should not buy/use it; these are some characteristics your restraint should NOT have:
- shabby straps;
- bent/worn out buckles;
- cracked or discolored attachment points (as it happens due to aging or sun exposure);
- have been involved in a crash;

Ages and types of restraints:

A. For babies: up to 9kgs and less than 70 cm in length- about 6 months old you can use:

1.Rearward facing restraints with a built-in harness.

2.Convertible restraints: used as rearward-facing restraint

B. For young children: from 9 to 18kgs weight about approx 6 months to 5 years

1.Forward facing restraints: the seat belt and the top tether strap keep the restraint in place; also, the seat faces forward and incorporates a six-point harness.

2. Convertible restraints: used as forward facing restraint

Children between 14 and 26 kg or until they are physically fit for using an adult seat belt should have:

1. A Booster seat; the belt should not be placed under the arm or behind the back as this represents an incorrect use of it. The right positioning of the seat belt: comfortably over the child’s shoulder and across the waist as also described in the sash guide. Make sure your child always uses the sash part of the belt the right way.

The advantage of the booster seat is that it also provides support for the child while sleeping but make sure you use it only with a forward-facing restraint.

2. Convertible restraints: as a forward facing restraint and booster seat.

3. Lap/sash belts: use them only when the child size is too big for the booster seat

One last thing, now that summer is here: the temperature inside the vehicle can climb and easily exceed 100 degrees. Therefore, be extra careful with children and pets. Never leave children or infants in the car alone, not even for a short time. Make sure the children got out of the car when you reached your destination and don’t fail to notice the sleeping infants!

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