When I was pregnant and registering for my first child, I did a lot of research on all of my baby gear. I read multiple reviews and looked up statistics on cribs, strollers and most importantly, car seats.
Do you ever look back at the car seats of your youth and cringe?
As a child of the 80’s, it’s hard to shake the image of those bucket type car seats out of my mind. Thankfully, though, through the years, car seat research, just like everything else, has improved and car seats have become much safer.
To be honest, I didn’t know much about car seats beyond infant carriers and convertible car seats. As my oldest son began to reach the limits of his convertible seat, I decided to see what our next move was. Would it be a booster seat? Another convertible car seat with a higher limit? As I was looking up statistics, I found that the CDC listed that car accidents as the #1 cause of death among children in the United States. Because of this information, I decided I wanted to find the safest option for my child.
Many car seat manufacturers are now offering a five point harness seat with higher weight limits. This made me so happy, as I wasn’t comfortable with putting my son in a booster seat just yet. Some people are shocked that my son is in kindergarten and still in a 5 point harness car seat. While in the carpool line, I see multiple kids his age get into the car without a car seat or booster seat. I’m shocked, as I know that legally they shouldn’t be allowed to ride in a car with only a seat belt. Even though a parent may feel that their child is “old enough” to not need a car seat, they may actually not be big enough to safely sit with a lap belt.
The Louisiana Child Passenger Seat Law actually states that a child should begin to wear a seatbelt once they are 6 years old, weigh more than 60 pounds and are 4’9. Even though my son is now 6, he still hasn’t hit the required weight and height limits to ride with only a lap belt. Many top car seat manufacturers not only have car seats that are 5 point harnesses with higher weight limits (ours goes up to 70 pounds), but after the weight limit is reached for the 5 point harness, it then converts over to a booster seat. That’s a win-win in my safety book!
The best way to make sure children are safe is educating their parents with the options available for them to decide what works best for their family. Whether your child is in an infant seat, convertible seat or a booster seat, it’s imperative to have your child buckled safely. I can’t be the only one who has seen a picture posted online of a child and just shook my head when you can obviously see the child isn’t buckled properly and therefore isn’t safe. Always refer to your manufacturer’s warnings, but a good safe practice is to always place the buckle at armpit level.