Car seats are essential to protect our little ones when they are in the car with us, especially since accidents on the road happen frequently in Singapore, with 8.417 traffic accidents reported in 2016. In Singapore, the law requires anyone below the height of 1.35m to be secured with a child restraint that is appropriate for their height and weight.
However, with so many options for child restraints in the market, how do you know which the right car seat for your child? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently updated its guidelines on car seat usage and safety, with precise recommendations on what type of car seat is appropriate for children of different ages, and all children younger than 13 years old should ride in the back seat.
Infants and Toddlers:
• Rear-facing seats until they turn two or have reached the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer. Alternatively, you can purchase a rear-facing convertible seat, but have it in rear-face mode until your child turns two.
• Place the harnesses in your rear-facing seat in slots that are at or below your baby’s shoulder.
• Never place a rear-facing seat in the front seat of a vehicle that has an active front passenger airbag as the inflated airbag might hit the baby’s head.
• Ensure that the seat is at a correct angle so your infant’s head does not flop forward.
Toddlers and Preschoolers:
• Forward-facing seat with harness until they have exceeded the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
• Belt-positioning booster until the vehicle seat belt fits properly and they reach 1.45m in height.
AAP recommends avoiding using a car seat that:
- Is too old. Look for the manufacturing date of the car seat and how long the manufacturer intended for the car seat to be used.
• Has any visible cracks on it.
• Does not have a label with the manufacturing date and model number.Without it, you cannot check if the seat was recalled.
• Does not come with instructions. Safe installation is key to car safety.
• Is missing parts. They could be missing parts that are essential to ensuring your child’s safety.
• Was recalled.
• Has been in a moderate or severe crash.
Also read: 6 Ways To Keep Your Minis Safe In The Car