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Why You Should Never Drive Without a Car Seat

In an accident, a good auto insurance policy can protect your from almost anything, financially speaking. If those involved are injured, an insurance plan can help pay the bills, but no amount of money can truly replace the life of a loved one. Automotive collisions are the number one cause of death and injury to children across all age groups, and while we’re reminded again and again to buckle up, few realize how much of a difference recommended safety equipment can make.

As a parent, simply knowing what the current recommendations and laws are for child safety can be difficult. Regulations are always changing, and though seatbelts have been thoroughly researched, choosing a booster seat alone can be overwhelming.

How Do I Know My Child is Safe?

No matter how much you choose to spend on a car seat, knowing how to properly use it is essential. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 96% of parents and caregivers believed that their child was correctly strapped in to their seat, but statistics show that as many as 7 in 10 children are improperly restrained. 70% of those improperly restrained had an increased risk of injury due to the misuse of their seat.

Knowing your seat’s weight limitations and the current weight of your child can help you decide which kind of seat to get, but every child should start out in a rear-facing car seat. We suggest looking into 3-in-1 convertible seats – they can be reconfigured for larger children, and may even accommodate your child until they’re ready to leave the car seat behind. But when is a child ready to move on?

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Age, Weight, and Choosing Your Seat

The first time you took your child for a ride in the car, you likely put them into a rear-facing car seat. If so, kudos to you – that’s exactly the right thing to do. Many parents opt to replace the rear-facing seat within the first couple of years, but it’s actually recommended that a child of average weight ride in a rear-facing car seat until they’re about three years old. At this point, it’s time to move onto a front-facing seat with a harness. Used properly, these harness can be an extremely effective lifesaving measure, but be sure to follow all weight recommendations and attach all harnesses securely.

Around age 8, your child should be ready to move on to a simple, less restrictive booster seat. These make the existing seatbelt far more effective, drastically lowering the risk of injury. Again, many parents take the booster seat out of the car too early, and while the recommended cutoff age for booster seat use is 12, there’s a simple test that parents can perform to find out whether or not their child is ready for the big-kid seat.

Simply have your child sit in the seat without a booster. Have them scoot back into the seat as far as they can until their back is flat against it. If your child’s legs bend at the knee and hang over the seat, they’re ready to move on, but if their legs are held up by the edge of the seat, sticking out straight, it’s a good idea to keep them in the seat a little longer to prevent an increased risk of injury in a collision.

Follow these guidelines, and your child will be as safe as possible in any given collision. Contact your local traffic safety organization for more information on local laws and regulations. Call or click today for full coverage insurance, personalized assistance, and unbeatable prices.

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