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What should you know about car seats?

When your family hits the road in Washington, you may think your young child will be safe in the car as long as he or she sits in a car seat. However, there are many factors that determine how safe a child is in a safety seat and it is important for you to make sure you are as knowledgeable about your child’s car seat as possible.

You may think it does not matter how you buckle your child into a safety seat. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is important to make sure you buckle up the seat properly. This means you should check the straps to see there is no slack and that they fit securely over a child’s body. Additionally, it is a good idea to make sure you install the seat correctly. You should typically read the instructions before setting up a car seat so you know which way the seat needs to face and how far the seat should recline.

Additionally, it is important to make sure your child does not wear too many layers in a car seat. In the winter, you may want to put a coat on your child to keep him or her warm. However, these extra layers may actually keep your young child from being securely buckled in. It is a good idea for you to buckle your child into a car seat first and drape a blanket over him or her so the safety straps still fit in the important places.

When you first get a car seat, you may think it does not necessarily matter what kind you get. However, each safety seat generally has a height or weight limit and it is a good idea to abide by these guidelines when you select a car seat. This means that when your child is very young, he or she should generally sit in a rear-facing seat until he or she exceeds the weight limit. Then you can typically select a new seat which is appropriate for your child’s age and height.

This information is intended to educate and should not be used in place of legal advice.