Child car seats are widely recognized for their value in helping to keep children safe and comfortable while traveling, and are one of the most important purchases that can be made for your child’s safety. However, a study by the U.S. Government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration** found that, of nearly 3500 car seats observed, more than SEVEN in every TEN child restraint systems were misused in a way that “could be expected to increase a child’s risk of injury during a crash”. It is not only important that you obtain the right car seat in the first place, but also that the car seat be used properly at all times. **Per the U.S. Government’s Department of Health and Human Service’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ‘Child Passenger Safety Fact Sheet’ (see the ‘Risk Factors’ section).Types of Child Car Seats:There are three basic types of child car seats, with each type being suitable for a child within a certain age and weight range. ‘Infant’ car seats are designed for newborns up to about six months of age. These are rear facing car seats with a harness to keep the child securely in place, with the child riding in a lying down position. There are also ‘convertible’ infant/toddler child car seats available. These car seats can be used for children from infancy into their toddler years, until they are ready for a booster seat. At about six months of age most children are ready to start using a ‘toddler’ car seat, until they transition into a ‘booster’ car seat. Many toddler car seats allow the child to ride in either an upright or a reclined position, and some models raise the child up sufficiently to be able to easily see out of the vehicle’s windows while in the upright position.’Booster’ car seats are designed for children from approximately 2 years of age up to 6 years, and are forward facing car seats that are designed for the child to sit upright. There are also ‘convertible’ toddler/booster child car seats available. These car seats can be used for children from the time they are ready to start using a toddler seat until they are ready to start using just the car’s seat belts. Purchasing a Child Car Seat:Although it may not be necessary to buy an expensive car seat to keep your child safe, price alone should not be the determining factor in choosing which car seat to purchase. A ‘cheap’ child car seat, or a ‘bargain’ that you find at a garage sale, may not give your child the maximum level of protection that he or she deserves.Using a secondhand child car seat may not be a good idea, as you may not be able to tell how old the car seat is, and, thus, whether or not it was designed to comply with current automobile designs and child car seat standards (federal motor vehicle safety standards change regularly, and older car seats may not be in compliance with them). In addition, the car seat may have suffered internal damage in an accident, or may not have all of its original parts. You may be able to use a relatively new secondhand car seat from a family member or friend, if they can tell you the car seat’s history, and know that the car seat has all its original parts. Also, make sure that the instructions for the car seat are either included with the car seat, or that you obtain them from the manufacturer or a distributor (instructions are usually available at no cost, either through the mail, or by downloading them over the Internet).Before buying any child car seat, you should do your ‘homework’ to make sure that you select one that is suitable both for your child, and for the vehicle(s) in which it will be used. You can purchase quality child car seats over the Internet, and searching the Internet is a good way to find manufacturers’ descriptions and recommendations, product reviews, safety ratings, and recall information, for various child car seat models, so that you can choose the best models to consider purchasing. Child car seat manufacturers are bound by very strict guidelines, and you may be surprised to find that some of the more expensive car seats don’t provide any better level of protection than those which are more moderately priced. A good place to start your research is to read Consumer Reports for comparisons of various car seat models. Make sure that any car seat you’re considering has passed the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) test. Also, there are often parent comments that you can read on the Web sites of retailers that sell car seats online. In this way you can find good information from actual users about both the good and bad features of various car seat models (such as comfort level, and easy of installation and use).Child Car Seat Installation and Use:To provide your child with the maximum level of
protection, it is vital that your child use a child car seat that is suitable both for the child and for the vehicle(s) in which the car seat will be used, and that it always be used in a proper fashion. Every new car seat comes with instructions for proper installation and use, and before buying any car seat, you should always check the manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations to make sure that it is not only appropriate for your child, but also that it will fit into your vehicle(s) properly, so that it will provide the best possible protection. There may be special instructions that you should be aware of, and failure to follow these instructions could result in compromising your child’s safety and comfort while using the car seat. If you have any questions about the suitability of a particular car seat for a particular vehicle, or how to install the car seat in that vehicle, contact the car seat’s manufacturer for clarification. In addition, many communities have agencies (including local law enforcement) that will assist you in making sure that you know how to properly install and use your child’s car seat, so as to provide the highest level of car seat safety.Buying the right child car seat for your child, and using the car seat properly, will provide your child with a comfortable and safe riding experience, and make traveling a more pleasant and enjoyable experience for the whole family.Where to Shop:GalaxyOfStores is an Online Shopping Center for THOUSANDS of different products for the whole family.Please visit CHILD CAR SEATS for more information about car seats, as well as a great selection of car seats, strollers, and travel systems, and visit the GalaxyOfStores.com HOME PAGE for all of its great products.