Children must be protected at all times. This is one of the unwritten rules defining responsibility for anyone taking care of children. The right child care extends to the road. Every year thousands of children die unnecessarily on the road due to poor safety measures.
It is thus incumbent upon all road users to see to it that Children are given maximum protection there is. One of the best ways of enhancing child safety is by getting the right Child safety seat.
The right Child safety seat means a seat that will considerably limit the chances of injury to a child in the unfortunate situation that a car is involved in an accident. Getting the right seat is not an end to itself. As a guardian or parent you should also know the right procedure of installing and fitting a seat for proper functioning and protection.
Type of Child Safety Seats
Basically, there are three types of child safety seats:
(i) Baby car seats
This seat best seats infant weighing between twenty two and fifty five pounds. These seats should always be positioned to face the rear of the car.
(ii) Convertible car seats
This seat both work for toddlers and older children as they are convertible. For infants, they are rear facing while for older children they best work when they are forward facing.
(iii) Belt-positioning booster seats
These seats work best for children who are at least four years up to twelve years. They work by use of the regular car lap and should to secure the child in place. As the child ages, and become big enough, gradually shift to lap and shoulder belts to guarantee maximum protection.
(i) Before buying
Never rush to buy one. Purchase should be preceded by relevant research, and advice preferably from an expert or even an experienced older parent. The best seat is one that fits your child weight and age.
(ii) When buying
Drive the car to the seller’s premises for fitting and testing. It is best if you go with the child. Avoid buying a seat by mail order. Make sure that the seat meets the international standards set by the United Nations regulation 44.03. If it does, the seat will be marked with a letter “E”. This is especially important if you plan to drive to other countries with your child.
Never buy a second hand seat especially if you don’t personally know the crash history of the car. This is because such seats might have certain weaknesses that are not visible to the eye or they don’t meet current standards of safety.
(iii) Fitting the seat
The seat should be fitted as per the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are not sure about a procedure, seek the advice of an expert. Once the seat is in place, try fitting the child. A properly fitted seat should not cause discomfort to the child, but it should be worn as tight as possible.
To drive the point home on safety, always lead by example by wearing a safety belt at all times.