Motherhood can be challenging at times, so you don’t need the extra stress of wondering if you’ve got the right child seat. Ultimately you want peace of mind; you want to know that your precious package is as safe as possible.
I still stick by the best car seat is not always the most expensive one. It’s the one that best fits a child’s weight, size and age, as well as your vehicle.
Many of you would have purchased a baby seat for your new born infant, this however will need to be replaced within a few months, depending on your child’s weight and height. If you have a convertible seat, it will convert from a rear-facing to forward-facing, but it is worth checking that it is suitable against your child’s weight and height. You should keep your child in a seat that faces the back of the car as long as possible.
Forward-facing seats are for older children who still need a harness, but are too small for an adult safety belt.
Protect your child – seat sizes
There are three weight categories 20lbs, 40lbs and 80lbs. Most infant seats will have a weight limit of about 20 pounds and a height limit of 26 to 29 inches. Another way to tell if your child is outgrowing the seat is if his head is within one inch of the top of the seat then they are too tall for it.
Most convertible seats will fit children up to a weight of 40 pounds and 40 inches. Some seat limits go higher, but the harness straps (the seatbelt webbing that is in the child seat) often have to be removed at weights greater than 40 pounds. So if your child is almost 40 pounds, check your seat’s labels and instructions and see if you will need to alter the seat or get a new one.
Most adult safety belt systems in a car do not fit a child until they are at least 80 pounds and 4 feet 9 inches tall. If your child does not fit into a convertible seat any longer and they do not fit into a car’s safety belt, you should use a booster seat.
Protect you child – height is important
Height limits are as important as weight limits when thinking if your child needs a new seat. For example, if your child is tall and thin then he may exceed the height limit before the weight limit. So the “20-40-80” memory key only is meant as a guide to remind you to look at your child seat’s weight and height limits.
Booster seats are used for children who are too big for a forward-facing or convertible seat, but not yet big enough for an adult safety belt. When your child outgrows his child safety seat with a harness, he will not be big enough to fit into an adult safety belt for some time. Your child should use a booster seat until the safety belt fits correctly.
It’s always best to be cautious where your child’s safety is concerned, so if you’re unsure double check. Go to your local stockiest and book an appointment for their fitting service, so you can get valuable help from their trained child car seat fitter.