Child Safety Seat Basics Reviewed by a Georgetown Car Accident Attorney

Child safety seats, or car seats, are a way to help ensure that children are not severely injured if they are involved in a Georgetown car accident. Choosing a car seat can be confusing, though, because there are so many different types. The best car seat for your child is one that is appropriate for your child’s age and size, fits easily into your car, and is easy to use.

Car seats come in three basic types:

  • Infant – An infant safety seat is a rear-facing car seat designed for children under the age of one. These seats are equipped with a harness restraint system and are generally lightweight and portable—you can remove the seat with the baby in it. They are designed to cradle an infant’s body and protect the spine in the event of a Georgetown car crash. A rear-facing infant safety seat should be used until the child reaches the top height or weight limit listed by the car seat manufacturer.
  • Forward Facing – Forward facing car seats are designed for children who have outgrown the top height or weight of their rear-facing safety seats—generally between the ages of one and three. Forward facing seats are equipped with a harness and tether system to protect your child’s body. Forward facing seats should be used until your child reaches the top height and weight limit listed by the car seat manufacturer.
  • Booster Seat – Booster seats are designed for children who have outgrown the top height and weight of their forward facing child safety seat—generally between the ages of four and seven. These seats position your child so that the seat belt hits their body in the proper position to protect them in a crash.

Car seat manufacturers have created additional child safety seat options that combine the three basic types of car seats in various ways to provide additional safety, convenience, and cost savings. These seats often have higher height and weight limits, which may allow you to keep your child in a 5-point harness—the safest restraint system for young children— for a longer period.

  • Combination – A combination seat is a forward facing car seat with a harness and tether system that can later be converted to a booster seat when the child outgrows the top height or weight for the forward facing seat.
  • 3-in-1 – A 3-in-1 child safety seat can be used as a rear-facing infant seat and then converted to a forward facing seat and finally to a booster seat as your child gets older. The disadvantage of this type of seat is that it is not portable—you cannot take it out of the car with an infant still in it.
  • Convertible – A convertible child safety seat can be used as a rear-facing infant seat and then converted to a forward facing seat for an older child.

In order to help parents choose the best car seat for their situation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reviewed many of the car seat options and created a 5-star ease-of-use rating system. Armed with car seat basics and the NHTSA car seat guide, parents can choose a car seat that will give them the features they need along with ease of use they desire.

David Todd, a Georgetown car accident attorney at the Todd Law Firm, urges parents to restrain their children in an appropriate child safety seat every time they ride in a passenger vehicle. If you are involved in a Georgetown car crash and you need legal advice, call David at 512-472-7799 for a free consultation. You can also download a free copy of his book Seven Deadly Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Texas Accident Case for more information.