Are you a parent plagued by the epidemic of car seat confusion? You’re not alone!
There’s no doubt you have your child’s best interest at heart when it comes to car seat safety. Despite the best intentions, car accidents are the number one cause of death of children in the United States. Yet, it’s no wonder that parents are a little confused – conflicting information on the web leaves a lot of room for confusion about car seat laws.
So, what’s real and what’s nothing more than a myth? Read on to find out about the 5 most common myths and the car seat laws that will keep your little one safe.
1. Once I’ve secured the car seat once, it will never need to be adjusted again.
Myth. Over time, the seatbelt is loosened and has to be readjusted to ensure the car seat is secured in place. Prior to taking your child for a drive, be sure to give the seat a shake. If you notice it moving more than an in either direction, be sure to tighten the straps until it’s secure again.
2. My child is in a rear-facing car seat, so it’s fine to put them in the front of my vehicle.
Myth. Unless the passenger airbag is not functioning in your vehicle, your child should never be in the front seat. Airbags can be helpful in saving the life of an adult, but if an airbag deploys in an accident, it causes serious damage to a child.
3. All children under the age of two-years-old MUST be in a rear-facing car seat.
Myth. If your child is under the age of two years old but is over forty pounds in weight or over forty inches tall, then it is perfectly acceptable for them to be in a forward-facing car seat. Just make sure they are seated in the back!
4. As soon as my child turns 8, he can immediately stop using his booster seat.
Myth. The truth is that adult seatbelts are not designed for children, they are actually designed for a 165lb male. When a seatbelt isn’t snug enough and doesn’t properly fit a child, it can cause serious injury. If your child is under 4’9, they should be using the booster seat until they reach the height and weight requirements in your state, regardless of age. This is not just a recommendation – it’s one of the car seat laws in many states.
5. It’s better to put my child in a front-facing car seat to avoid motion sickness when traveling in the other direction.
Myth. This could not be further from the truth. Adults only experience motion sickness because their brains have been wired to believe that traveling forward is the norm. Kids do not yet understand what “normal” is. So try not to worry too much – your little one will not know the difference! If you’re stressing about them getting dizzy during travels, try to give them something to occupy their mind, like a picture book or toy.
As a parent, you are the only one responsible for your child’s safety. Be sure you are aware and up-to-date on the latest car seat laws in your particular state. By following the correct procedures, you can drastically improve the safety of your child when traveling by car.