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 Car Safety 4 Kids!

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On this page: The Types of Carseats

Infant Seats:

An infant seat is a seat that is used only in the rear-facing position. They are for use by an infant up to 20 or 22 lbs, depending on the seat. An infant seat comes in two versions - a 3 pt. harness or a 5 pt. harness ( see photos below). You can use the infant seat without or without the base. If using the base, the base stays installed in the car. The infant carrier snaps in and out of the base. This allows you to move the infant carrier without having to reinstall it each time.

An infant seat is outgrown when either of the 2 following conditions occur:

1.The child reaches the weight limit of the seat.
2.The child's head is within 1" of the top of the shell of the carseat.

If your child outgrows the infant seat before he is 20 lbs and one year you must purchase a convertible seat to be used rear-facing.

Below: Pictured to the right is an infant seat base. In the middle is a 5pt harness infant seat. To the right shows a 3pt. harness infant seat.

Visit CPSafety for more information and a buying guide.

Click here for infant seat harness help or here  for infant seat installation help.









Convertible Seats:

A convertible seat is one that can be used both rear-facing and forward-facing. Since many children outgrow infant seats before reaching both 1 year and 20 lbs, a convertible seat is the next seat that a baby will need.

Convertible seats come in 3 different styles - five point harness, tray shield, and t-shield (pictured below). The five point harness system is the safest harness system. Most seats harness from 5 lbs to 20-35 lbs rearfacing (depending on the seat) and forward facing from 20 or 22 lbs to 40 lbs. There are several seats that harness to a higher weight. Those seats (in current production) are the Britax Marathon (65 lbs) and Britax Wizard (65 lbs). While many convertibles can start forward facing when your child reaches the minimum weight limit, it is safest to keep them rear-facing until the upper rear-facing limits of the seat are reached. When used in the forward-facing position, be sure to thread the harness through the top-reinforced slots.

A convertible seat is outgrown rear-facing when either of the 2 following conditions occur:

1.The child reaches the weight limit of the seat.
2.The child head's is level with the top of the shell of the carseat.

A convertible seat is outgrown forward-facing when either of the 3 following conditions occur:

1.The child reaches the weight limit of the seat.
2.The tips of the child's ears are level with top of the shell of the carseat.
3.The harness straps come out of the harness slot below the child's shoulders.

Below: Pictured to the right is a 5 point harness seat. In the middle is a tray shield seat. To the right shows a t-shield seat.

Visit CPSafety for more information and a buying guide.

Click here for convertible seat harness help or here for convertible seat installation help.









Combination Seats:

A combination seat is a seat that can be used as a forward facing 5pt. harness toddler seat and then converted into a belt positioning booster. Most combination seats (pictured below) harness from 20 or 22 lbs (depending on the seat) up to 40 lbs (Car Seat Specialty Airway harnesses to 50 lbs). Then the harness is removed and the seat is used as a belt-positioning booster up to 80-100 lbs (depending on the seat). Many seats allow the harness to be removed at 30 lbs. However, the safest practice is to use the harness until the child reaches 40 pounds. A combination seat cannot be used in the rear-facing position.

A combination seat is outgrown when used as a forward-facing 5pt. toddler seat when one of the 3 following conditions occur:

1.The child reaches the weight limit of the seat.
2.The tips of the child's ears are level with top of the shell of the carseat.
3.The harness straps come out of the harness slot below the child's shoulders.

A combination seat is outgrown when used as a belt positioning booster when one of the 3 following conditions occur:

1.The child reaches the weight limit of the seat.
2.The tips of the child's ears are level with top of the shell of the carseat.
3.The child passes the 5-step test

Below: Pictured are 2 combination seats.

Visit CPSafety for more information and a buying guide.

Click here for combination seat harness help or here for combination seat installation help.









Booster Seats:

A booster seat is designed to work in conjuncion with your vehicle's lap and shoulder belt. A booster seat does not have a harness. A booster seat lifts the child off the vehicle seat so that the seat belt can fit correctly (low over the hips, across the middle of the chest, and across the middle of the shoulders.) The minimum weight for boosters vary from 30-40 lbs (depending on the seat) and max out at 80-100 pounds (again, depending on the seat). For optimal protection, it is a best to leave a child in a harness until 40 lbs. Many children (especially children under 40 lbs (typical 4 year old)), are not mature enough to sit in the booster without slouching or allowing the seatbelt to slip out of a proper fit.

Boosters come in 2 styles - low back booster and high back booster (pictured below.). Many older children like low-back boosters because they are less visible from the outside. High back boosters offer more side-impact protection. High back boosters must be used if the vehicle does not provide adequate head protection (i.e. - the tips of the ears are above the vehicle seat back). There is a third style booster called a tray shield booster. However, this style of booster is not recommended due to its lack of safety.


Below: Pictured to the left is a low back booster and to the right is a high back booster

Visit CPSafety for more information and a buying guide.

Click here for booster seat harness help or here for booster seat installation help.






    

Important: The information on this site is intended for educational purposes.  Reading and/or following the information on this site will not guarantee that you are using your child restraint properly.  Please visit a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.  In as little as 20 to 30 minutes, you will know for sure that your child is as protected as he or she can be.

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