A baby car seat is one of the most important decisions you will make for your child. You should also be aware of what are the ages for car seats.
In this article, we will teach you all about ages for car seats, types and recommended usage to help equip you with the knowledge you need to make the best choice for your little one.
Surprisingly, 2/3 of child car seats checked at fitting clinics are either wrong child car seat for that child or are fitted incorrectly. So, it is essential that you buy the right one. You will also get it fitted properly to really protect your little one.
There are four types of car seats for the different age groups of children.
0 to 2+ years old:
Rear-Facing Car Seats:
An infant car seat is a rear-facing car seat and fits children ranging from 4-40 lbs* and up to 35 inches. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ride rear-facing until the age of 2. Or until they reach either the weight or height limit of the car seat.
The infant car seat is a great first choice due to its lightweight carrier, stay in car base and stroller compatibility. These seats have a couple of different functions like most car seats. They keep the babies from being ejected from the car. They have different safety features that slow down the forces of the crash and keep the child secure in the crash and better in the van.
Car seats have more shock-absorbing material whether it’s foam or steel or different types of plastics to make the car seat safer.
Important features to look for while selecting an infant car seat are a no-rethread harness, side-impact protection, and ease of installation.
To begin the installation, you must read the owner’s manuals for both the vehicle and safety seat.
To understand proper placement in the vehicle and proper placement of harnesses to hold the child in the safety seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The harness straps should come out of the harness slots located at or below the child’s shoulders. These may need to be adjusted as the child grows. The harness strap should be snug against the child so that no harness material can be gathered into a pinch or fold.
2 to 7 years old:
Forward-Facing Car Seats (For toddlers):
When your child gets a bit older, they need a seat that protects them and keeps them comfortable in the car. A forward-facing safety car seat is the best way to make sure that your child is safe when they are riding in any vehicle.
Forward-facing car seats can be used until at least 4 years old and from 22-65 lbs* and up to 49 inches. The important features for these types of seats are ease of installation, additional safety features like side impact protection and extended usage like extra legroom for your growing child.
You have to periodically check your safety seat to ensure it is still tightly secured to the vehicle seat. Children should not wear bulky clothing or have anything including blankets behind the child or under the safety seat harness. This also includes headrests.
Always know the weight and height limits of your safety seat and how your child fits within these limits. Children under the age of 12 are safest riding in the back seat.
4 to 12 years old:
Booster Car Seats:
Booster seats are the forward-facing car seats and provide the longest use. The safety expert says every child who is not too big for a car seat should be in a booster seat. Until they are either 12 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall. But not all booster seats are created equal. So, it can be hard for parents to tell the difference between a good car seat and a bad one.
A good booster car seat should allow the shoulder belt to snugly across the center of the shoulder, not across the upper arm or the neck. While the lap belt should lie flat across the thigh, not across the abdomen.
It can be used up to 12 years old and from 4-120 lbs*and up to 57 inches. The transit to a high back belt-positioning booster and backless booster.
The important features are;
- Ease of installation.
- No-rethread harness with multiple headrest positions.
- Harness storage.
- Weight and height limit.
- Multiple easily adjustable reclined positions.
No matter which type of booster seat you choose, you should strap it in your car and test it. Because fit varies from car to car and child to child.
8-year-old to adult:
Belt-Positioning Booster Seats:
These car seats are designed to boost your child’s seated height so that the vehicle belt fits properly. Keeping children’s best interests in mind most leading safety advocates recommend booster seats.
Belt-positioning booster can be used from 4-12-year-old and from 4-120 lbs* and from 43-57 inches. The important features to look for are easy to use belt guides, extra side impact protection, and easily adjustable headrests.
With the information provided in this guide, we hope that you will feel confident about what are the ages for car seats. And you should always choose the right car seat for your child and your lifestyle.
It is also important to double-check your car seat manual and to check your local and state laws. As well as the American Academy of Pediatrics and NHTSA.gov recommendations for car seat usage.
Lastly, I would like to say that don’t be fooled into thinking that at age 2 you have to stop and move them forward-facing. If your car seat lets you go longer do it because it’s to your child’s benefit.
*Height and weight can vary, seek the information on a specific car seat in car seat manuals.