Tight hug – why to invest in a car seat for 4-year-olds
Sometimes you may feel as if you want to hug your kid forever—a car seat is a way to show them that you care. Not only is comforting for them while you drive, but it is also extremely safe, making it a great choice for your young child.
Convertible seat or booster seat
You know that you should get the infant seat for your child when he or she is a baby. However, once they outgrow it (normally around their first birthday), you’ll want to get a convertible seat.
The convertible seat has a higher rear-facing weight limit in its harness, making it possible that they ride backward, or rear facing – which is the safest option. In some states, it is even the law that children younger than 2 years have to ride this way.
After your child has outgrown the weight or height limit, you’ll need to move on to the booster seat that uses the car seatbelt. The booster should be placed and correctly sized so that the seat belt is directly over the sternum and the center of the collarbone of your child. The lower part should lie across the upper thighs.
The high-back models of the booster seat are the best because not only are they more comfortable, they are also better for the shoulder part of the belt. It’s even the law in some states that kids are required to use a booster seat up until they are 9 years or weight 80 lbs.
How to install a child’s car seat
Each car seat and car will be different, therefore it is extremely important for you to check with your car’s guidelines or secure car seat installation instructions.
To install it properly and correctly, it is recommended that you read the owners manual of the car or booster seat. These will come directly from the manufacturer and will be equipped with particular instructions that can help with the process of installing the seat in the car. The manufacturer knows best since they are the ones that created the booster or car seat, so try and follow them as best as you can.
You can also check your car’s manual. Each car will be different, meaning they also have a variety of unique safety features, which will help securely install your own car seat. This may mean that your car even has anchors designed directly in or on the seats that can help with securing a car seat. Your specific vehicle’s manual can help with the installment.
Once you’ve found out how to do it, you want to make sure that you are using these tips:
- Place the booster or car seat in the right place. It is recommended (and enforced by law), that the back seat is the safest place for your kids. The center of the back seat is the safest spot in the vehicle since it’s not on the sides and doesn’t have air bags, which can be dangerous to a small child.
- Make sure you are locking the seat belts. Just in case your car doesn’t have those anchors available for the booster seat, you should lock the seat belt once the car seat is installed.
- Use all safety parts of the car seat. To ensure safety, some car seats, like the Chicco MyFit, come with a tether strap that enforces an additional safety measure. From the top of the seat, grab it and attach to the vehicle. This will help keep your child’s head safe.
- Tighten the straps up and adjust the angles. There is no use in going through all those safety precautions if you’re not going to use the seat properly. Make sure that everything is tightly secured and in the right angles.
Features to consider while buying the safest car seat for 4-year-old
Before you choose the safest car seat for your child, you should consider these features, which may be different for every product.
The size of the car seat will be defined by the height and the weight of your child. Some car seat manufacturers also suggest an age limit, as well.
Not only is the size of your child important, but the size of the car seat is also notable. You’ll want to make sure that the car seat actually fits in your car.
If you want a car seat to last as long as possible (within reason), aim for a car seat that has a bit of a larger weight limit capacity, like the Chicco MyFit, which has 100 lbs weight limit, or the Britax Frontier, which can hold 120 lbs.
The belt is also an important feature to check out. The KidsEmbrace Marvel Spider-Man, for example, has a 2-position crotch belt, which really makes your child feel safe and secure in the seat, as well as the car seatbelt that you place over.
Talk to your pediatrician or check out what other parents are saying about the latch connection. These car seats will either be equipped with a push-on, hook-style, or rigid lower anchor.
If you’re going to be getting a forward-facing harness seat, you’ll need to see if the seat also includes a top tether strap. This feature will anchor the seat (and your child) to the vehicle seat, which will secure the seat optimally. It will also protect your child against head injuries, which is important in the case of an accident.
The harness system can also be tricky. All of the booster seats on the market will have an adjustable harness system.
What’s important to note here, is that as your child grows, the straps on the harness will need to be adjusted continuously.
The material of the car seat is also important, since this not only makes it more comfortable for your child to sit in, it also will help keep car damage to a minimum and perhaps even make the car seat machine-washable.
The side protection is another feature that might be overlooked at first. However, making sure that the car seat has it is important not only in the case of an accident but also when the car is moving about
Not only will you want something safe and durable for your child, but you’ll also want your investment to last you a few years. The durability of the car seat is also an extremely important feature to consider.
It won’t do you any good if you have a durable car seat if you don’t have a warranty to back it up. Unfortunately, when the car seat warranty is specified, most of the ones on the market will only be around 1-year, like the Graco Extend2Fit.