Buying and installing an automobile seat for your child can feel nearly the same as outfitting your auto for a vacation to the moon. There are latches to anchor, belts and buckles to secure, weight limits to uphold.

Before your patience goes directly into orbit, read this easy-to-follow guide to child car seats. Learn which carseat you need and how exactly to set it up without driving yourself crazy.

Selecting the right Car Seat
Why do you even desire a child safety seat? Because it’s an important part of car safety. Child seats save lives.

If your child is securely strapped in an automobile seat, her or his threat of dying in a vehicle accident falls by 71%, in line with the CDC.

Yet buying and installing an automobile seat can seem to be overwhelming. When you wander down the aisles of your neighborhood baby supercenter, the sheer number and selection of car seats could make you dizzy.

Don’t get intimidated. You don’t need to buy the priciest safety seat with the bells and whistles.

You just have to consider three things:

Your baby’s age
Your baby’s weight and height
Whether the carseat meets safety standards
Here is a quick guide from the CDC how to pick a seat based on your son or daughter’s age, weight, and height:

Birth to age 2. Use a rear-facing seat. Your son or daughter’s weight ought to be no greater than allowed on the seat’s weight limit.

Age 2 to 4 No a lot more than 40 pounds. Use a forward-facing child safety seat.

Age 4 to 8 OR up to 4 feet 9 inches tall. Use a belt-positioning booster seat. Continue to keep kids in the trunk seat.

After age 8 AND/OR 4 feet 9 inches tall. Seat belts (with out a booster seat) are OK. However your child should keep by using a booster seat until adult seat belts fit properly. How will you know? Check the positioning of the lap belt and the shoulder belt on your own child. The lap belt ought to be on the legs — not the stomach. The shoulder belt ought to be on the chest — not the neck.

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The CDC says all children younger than age 13 should ride in the trunk seat. That is true if they’re in an automobile seat, booster seat, or seat belt. The reason why: air bags can hurt and even kill small children riding in leading.

Experts recommend keeping babies under 2 in a rear-facing seat until they outgrow the automobile seat manufacturer’s height and weight limit. A rear-facing carseat will protect your baby’s delicate neck throughout a crash. A seat’s weight limits match the seat itself. Some seats can rise to 60+ pounds.

Every state has different laws on children’s child car seats. Some states will fine you $100 or even more for failing woefully to secure your son or daughter in the right child seat.

Evaluating CARSEAT Quality
You know which kind of car seat you will need, but how about the brand and model? Below are a few features to find:

Safety label. Make certain the seat includes a label stating that it meets or exceeds Federal AUTOMOBILE Safety Standard 213.

Five-point harness. It’ll protect your baby much better than a three-point harness or seatbelt.

Ratings. Check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) five-star simplicity ratings system. A seat that’s earned 4 or 5 stars could have clear instructions and become simple to use.

New carseat. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends investing in a new carseat – if you don’t know the accident history of a car or truck seat.

CARSEAT Installation Tips
Now that you have your car seat, it is time to install the seat in your vehicle. It’s important that the automobile seat is secured properly.

Even if the safety seat looks secure, it may well not be. Three out of four parents are driving around with improperly installed child seats. And that is dangerous for his or her children.

Here is a step-by-step guide to installing a rear-facing or convertible carseat:

Read BOTH the carseat manufacturer’s installation instructions as well as your car’s owner’s manual instructions completely. Be sure to know how to utilize the seat belts or LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system together with your car seat before you begin the installation process.
ONLY install the automobile seat in the trunk seat. That’s where your son or daughter is safest until they turns 13 or reaches a height of 4 feet 9 inches.
Follow the automobile seat’s instructions accurately as you thread the seat belt through the automobile seat belt path and tighten it.
Buckle and lock the seat belt.
Press down on the seat firmly to tighten it. The automobile seat shouldn’t move a lot more than 1 inch laterally or forward and backward once it’s installed.
Check the automobile seat manufacturer’s instructions to be sure the safety seat is reclined at the right angle.
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Also check that your son or daughter is secured properly in the seat:

The harness straps ought to be put through the slots at or below your baby’s shoulders.
The straps should lie flat against your son or daughter’s body.
You can tell that the harness is snug enough when you can’t pinch any extra material at the shoulders.
The chest clip ought to be at your son or daughter’s armpit level.
Don’t stress out over carseat installation. If you have been wrestling with the seat all night and you still can’t figure it out, visit an NHTSA carseat inspection station in your town. Often, they’re located at fire stations. A qualified technician will highlight how exactly to properly install and use your vehicle seat — often free of charge.

To minimize the chance a child will accidentally be left out in an automobile or get trapped inside:

Leave a purse, briefcase, or cellphone in the trunk seat. That way, you enter the habit of checking in the trunk seat before leaving the automobile.
Make an arrangement together with your child’s daycare to keep these things call you if the kid doesn’t show up needlessly to say.
Always lock your vehicle and car trunk, regardless if the automobile is parked in the driveway in the home, and continue to keep keys and fobs out of your reach of children.