When your baby becomes a squirmy toddler, safely protecting him for a flight gets a bit more complicated. Here, car safety tips, from how to correctly install your child’s car seat by age to how to avoid other on-the-go injuries.
Gone are the days of running to the shop with a sweet snoozing infant strapped in his car seat. Now you’ve got a still sweet but not-quite-so-submissive toddler who’s getting ready to get out of his car seat and isn’t shy about letting you understand. Which can make driving demanding– even on a journey to the corner shop for a gallon of milk. Read on for tips to help protect your most precious freight whenever you’re on the roadway.
Types of car seats for toddlers
While you can select your tot’s clothing based upon what looks adorable to you, when you pick a safety seat, it’s not about looks– it’s about security. You’ll wish to think about what works best for your family and your car. Consider these 3 options, all of which need to have a 5-point harness that connects at the shoulders, hips and between the legs:
- Rear-facing only. These car seats are used for children up to 22 to 40 pounds, depending on the design– which indicates most babies have outgrown them by the time they’re 8 or 9 months old. Examine the seat’s manual to validate when it’s time to move on from this choice.
- Convertible seat. What’s practical about convertible safety seat is that they can be quickly switched from rear-facing to forward-facing mode for older children. Although they are bulkier than infant seats and do not come with bring handles or different bases, they can be used for a longer time period. Lots of convertible seats have high rear-facing weight that can hold up to 40 to 50 pounds, making them more perfect for larger infants.
- All-in-one (3-in-1). All-in-one seats resemble convertible car seats, but they can be changed from a rear-facing car seat to a forward-facing safety seat then a car seat. Due to the fact that it’s bigger than the other two varieties, always review the manual to be sure it fits your car model.
When to use a forward-facing car seat
The golden rule of car security for children: Don’t turn the safety seat till your kid is 2 and he’s reached the car seat’s limitation in that position (generally around 35 pounds). A rear-facing seat is a safer place for babies and toddlers — your child’s head, neck and spinal column are much better supported in case of a crash. So examine the lorry and car seat manuals to verify those limitations and re-installation instructions.
Changing from the lock system to safety belt for toddler
All cars made after September 2002 are needed to have a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system, which is a way to protect a car seat instead of using seat belts. The LATCH system was created to streamline and standardize the installation process. The system consists of a tether (elegant word for a strap) that attaches to the car seat then to an anchor point in your vehicle. The automobile owner’s manual will inform you where the tether anchors are located in your car. If your car does not have a LATCH system, it’s simply as safe to install your car seat with safety belt, as long as you do so properly.
In 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released upgraded suggestions requiring parents of children ages 3 and approximately not use the LATCH anchors if the kids and their car seats have a combined weight of 65 pounds, considering that strength of the anchors can not be ensured in the event of a mishap. If your child has actually reached the weight limit, he should remain in safety seat secured with the seat belt, not the LATCH anchors. Be sure to confirm the weight limitation and how to install the safety seat using the manuals for both your car and seat. Can’t find your copies? You should have the ability to download PDFs on the producers’ sites online.
Can toddlers use a booster safety seat?
No, booster seats are not indicated for toddlers. Your child must ride in a five-point harness car seat up until he reaches the forward-facing car seat’s upper height and weight limits (typically around at least 4 years of ages)– and only then is it safe to transition to a belt-positioning booster seat in the rear seats. As constantly, make sure to check the manufacturer’s standards on your automobile and car seat handbooks.
Don’t wish to purchase another seat in two years? You can opt for an “all-in-one” seat now that transitions from forward-facing car seat to a car seat for his pre-K years and beyond.
Keep in mind that your car’s regular seat belts are suggested to work alone just when a child has actually reached about 80 pounds and 4 feet 9 inches tall. And kids ought to constantly ride in the rear seats till they’re at least 13 years of ages.
Toddler car safety tips
Review car seat security standards. Even the right safety seat cannot do its task if your toddler’s not strapped in just right. So although you’re most likely a pro at securing all the harnesses and latches, require time to review the basic car-seat security tips, specifically if you’re buying a brand-new design. Give your car’s and the car seat’s handbooks a close and thorough read. Keep in mind, the safest place is normally in the middle of the backseat, far from passenger-side airbags. And make sure that as soon as the seat is installed, you cannot move it more than an inch from side to side.
Get a new seat expertly inspected. Bought a brand-new safety seat for your child? Get the setup re-checked by your local authorities or station house, or discover a licensed car-seat inspector specialist in your area (you can also call 866-SEAT-CHECK).
Change the harness to fit your child. Harness straps need to be in the slots that are at or below your child’s shoulders, and the top of the chest clip need to be attached at the level of your child’s armpits. To inspect if the harness is tight however not too tight for your growing toddler, see if you can get two (however no more) fingers in between the strap and your child’s body.
Avoid bulky winter clothes. For the most safe flight, harness straps need to remain tight on your child’s shoulders– and bulky winter season coats and snowsuits add an additional layer between your child and security. So never strap your child in using a coat or snowsuit; instead lay the coat (or a blanket) over the harness straps. Or think about the safety seat while choosing his clothing– a sweatshirt will keep him toasty in the car without disrupting the safety straps.
Be a great role model. Make sure everyone in the car obeys the buckle-up guideline (specifically you)– after all, the best method to teach good practices to kids is to practice them yourself.
Keep little fingers and arms safe. Making windows fluctuate with a push of a button is oh-so-tempting for hectic little fingers however unsafe if that window closes on them. To keep your curious toddler safe, control windows from the driver’s seat, keeping them locked, if possible. When you do have to raise them, always examine to make sure hands (or arms or heads) aren’t anywhere near. You can nip the temptation to touch the buttons by giving your child something to keep his hands busy, like a just-for-the-car book or toy. Wish to make sure that no fingers will get caught in the car door? Prior to you shut the door (and after you’ve strapped him in his seat) ask your toddler to show you how tightly he can hug himself.
Tether toys. At an age when kids just want to go, go, go, being strapped in a safety seat is uninteresting, dull, boring and may cause some loud grievances. Keep rear seat protests to a minimum by inhabiting your tot with a rotating choice of small toys, attached to his safety seat with plastic links. This strategy will help safeguard your sanity and your hearing and produce a more secure drive because there’ll be no tossed toys to sidetrack you. Choose soft toys for the car (and pass up anything pointy or sharp like pencils and pens) so there’s less of a possibility of your youngster getting hurt if you have to stop brief.
Practice safe snacking. When the whining (or wailing) starts, it’s tempting to hand over any and every edible item around to peaceful your traveling toddler. However attempt to prevent trading food for silence– it’s not a fantastic pattern to obtain into. If you need to give in to a snack in the car– state your toddler missed out on a meal due to some difficult travel plans– prevent foods that are thought about choking threats for toddlers like raw carrots, popcorn, nuts, grapes and raisins. And ditch sticky, unpleasant deals with like yogurt or applesauce squeezers. For much safer, neater snacking, stick with whole-grain crackers, dry cereal or saltless pretzels with a spill-proof cup of water to wash it down.
Don’t leave your toddler in the car. Not even for a minute: Cars can cool down– and warm up– fast. How quick? Twenty degrees in 10 minutes– which can be worrying when the temperature soars from 90 degrees to 110. It’s especially hazardous for kids below 4, considering that their bodies take in more heat and increase in temperature level much faster than adults’ bodies do. So do not gamble leaving your kid in the car alone, no matter what the weather. Want to prevent accidentally leaving your kid in the car (yes, it happens– specifically when kids are sleeping and a parent is sidetracked or stressed)? Always put your bag or briefcase in the backseat so you’ll have to check back there anyway prior to you leave the car. And make a practice of searching in the front and back of the car before walking away– simply in case.
Use safety seat for travel only. Safety seat aren’t planned for other uses outside the car– especially unsupervised sleeping. So while it’s perfectly safe for your toddler to snooze in his seat when he’s properly buckled in for a ride to the grocery store, leaving him otherwise unattended in a safety seat poses big dangers, including death from strangulation or suffocation.
Take extra care with the trunk. Toddlers love to tuck themselves into small spaces, and that makes the trunk of a car an appealing place to explore. So teach your toddler another essential guideline of car security: The trunk is absolutely off-limits. Do not depend on your words alone (it’ll be a while before your toddler takes in safety lessons). Keep your trunk and car doors locked, store secrets out of reach and keep the rear fold-down seats locked upright to avoid your kid from climbing into the trunk from inside the car. Never put your toddler in the trunk even for a minute (while you pack the groceries, for instance). You can show an older toddler or young child what to do if he does get trapped in the trunk, so explain the emergency situation handle in the trunk and practice using it (without putting your child in the trunk).
Take note of parked cars. Just because a car is parked doesn’t indicate it’s safe: Drivers might not see a child, state, drawing with chalk in the driveway or running up to state hi. So do not let your toddler play in the driveway (and keep his toys in a safer, less-tempting place). Also remind the drivers in your family about these toddler car-safety tips: Always walk around the car before moving it, back up slowly, take note of the mirrors and keep cars locked at all times, even when parked in the garage or driveway.