Car Seat Information

Purchasing and installing the right car seat is one of the most important steps in your early parenting journey. These are some tips from the American Association of Pediatrics to help you along your way.

For most parents, one of the leading concerns for their child is ensuring that they’re safe while traveling in the car. The type of car seat that you purchase will secure that infant and will also reduce the risk of injury in a car accident. When you’re deciding which type of product to buy, there are a few relevant facts to understand.


There are different types of seats to use for your child, depending on their size and age. Infants and toddlers fit securely in rear-facing seats until the age of two. Rear-facing convertible seats are also ideal to use once the child turns one year of age. Toddlers and preschoolers must transition to convertible or forward-facing seats with harnesses when following car seat guidelines. School-aged children are required to sit in booster seats and must sit in the backseat until they’re 13 years of age.


LATCH is a common term that is associated with car seats and describes lower anchors that are used instead of seat belts to secure the child’s car seat and prevent it from sliding around or moving. They’re used for seats that hold children that are less than 65 pounds.


When discussing your child’s safety with Coastal Kids Pediatrics in Orange County, you’ll quickly learn that the safest place for an infant to travel is in the middle seat of the back row. You can place the child in the seat if there’s plenty of room and it’s not too narrow.


It’s important to note that rear-facing seats are used for children who are under two years old and include a base that is left inside of the vehicle. You might want to consider purchasing a second base for an additional car that is frequently used, which makes it easy to continue using the car seat in multiple vehicles.


When installing rear-facing seats, the harnesses should be placed in slots that are below the infant’s shoulders. It should fit snug and should not be able to move more than an inch side to side. The seat should also be installed at the right angle to ensure that the infant’s head is not at risk of flipping forward.


Many parents may wonder what to do when their child begins growing and their legs begin to touch the back of the seat as they grow. This is completely natural and kids are capable of bending their knees and are not at more of a risk for injuries. 


Convertible seats should not be used for sleeping or feeding and are ideal for those who are under 40 to 50 pounds. Convertible seats include a five-point harness that attaches near the shoulders, between the legs, and at the hips.


3-in-1 seats must face backward to be used properly when keeping the child safe. They’re typically larger in size, making it important to measure your back seat to ensure that they fit once they are installed. They do not come with bases, making them easier to use in different vehicles and are also ideal for larger babies or toddlers.


During the winter months, many parents make the mistake of strapping their child into the seat while the infant is dressed in heavy coats and pants. Try to dress your little one in thin clothing to prevent them from being too snug in the seat as they travel in the car. You will also want to avoid adding any inserts or padding unless it came with the product. You can discuss additional safety tips with our top professional pediatricians in Orange County.


We recommend that preemies who come home from the hospital need rear-facing-only seats that are slightly reclined. Other babies that are preterm will need to be tested at the hospital to ensure that they are strong and healthy enough to ride home in the car.


Coastal Kids Pediatrics in Orange County suggests that there are a few signs that a seat for your child is not going to protect them in an accident. Older seats are of concern, making it necessary to contact the manufacturer to determine how long they can be used for until it’s no longer safe. Car seats that don’t come with instructions or car seat guidelines should also be avoided. Our expert pediatricians suggest that seats that have been recalled or do not have all of the necessary parts are also dangerous to use and should be thrown away. Seats that have also been used in a collision are considered to be defective and can be faulty in future accidents.


Although some products may state that they are the safest for your child, the one that fits your infant correctly is ideal to use. Avoid allowing the price of the seat to influence your decision when discussing these with your pediatrician. You should also research reviews and crash ratings to determine if it’s the right choice for your child to use long-term.

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