Child Car Safety

August 26th, 2022 by

Whether you’re taking your child along for a short trip to the grocery store or on a cross-country road trip to see your in-laws, it’s vital to ensure their safety. We’ve put together some tips you can explore for keeping your family safe in the car, including what types of car seats to use and other measures you can take to protect your loved ones on the road.

What Are the 4 Different Types of Car Seats?

The four different types of car seats are:

  • Rear-facing car seat.
  • Forward-facing car seat.
  • Booster seat.
  • Seat belt.

Rear-Facing Car Seats for Infants

Rear-facing car seats are best for newborns. They may continue to ride in this kind of car seat until they are between the ages of two and four. Your child’s transition out of a rear-facing car seat depends on weight and height. It would be best if you also considered the car seat manufacturer’s suggestions.

A rear-facing car seat has a rounded shape and a harness. If an accident occurs, the seat cradles your infant and moves with them to minimize jostling. This design is highly beneficial, as it can prevent damage to their vulnerable spinal cord and neck.

You can choose to purchase a convertible car seat so that you don’t have to buy as many car seats for your child. You can use a convertible car seat as a rear-facing seat during your child’s first year of life or for however long they need to remain rear-facing. When the time comes, you can turn your convertible car seat into a front-facing one.

Forward-Facing Car Seats for Toddlers

A forward-facing car seat is meant for use with toddlers. It has a harness and a tether and faces the same way a vehicle’s traditional backseat does. The goal of this style of seat is to prevent your youngster from moving forward during a collision. Toddlers typically start using a forward-facing car seat when they’re around two years old. However, the starting age can vary drastically depending on your child’s size and the recommendations from your car seat manufacturer.

Booster Seats for Elementary-School-Aged Children

When your child has outgrown their forward-facing car seat, you can have them ride in a booster seat. A booster seat is an elevated seat that keeps your youngster, usually between the ages of five and nine, positioned properly to wear their seatbelt. A booster seat helps situate a child so that the lap-and-shoulder belt sits appropriately on the strong points of their chest, hips, and body.

There are two different types of booster seats. The first is a booster seat that offers a high back supporting your child’s neck and head. It’s a good idea to purchase this booster seat if your vehicle has seats without headrests. The second kind of booster seat is a backless booster seat. As the name implies, this seat doesn’t have a back. It’s ideal if your vehicle comes equipped with head supports on the seats.

Seatbelts for Older Children

Your kids can begin to use a seatbelt alone typically when they’re around 10 to 12 years old. This safety device prevents ejection from the vehicle and keeps your children in a safer position in the event of a crash. The seatbelt should fit snugly across their shoulder and chest instead of their face or neck. It should also lie comfortably across their upper thighs instead of their stomach.

What Does the Law Say About Car Seats in Texas?

Texas law emphasizes the importance of following child car safety protocols. If a law enforcement officer pulls you over and sees that you haven’t correctly restrained your kids, you may be subject to a fine of up to $250. You must properly secure any child under eight years old in a child safety seat.

There are some exceptions if your kid is taller than 4 feet and 9 inches, but it’s best to consult your car’s manual for the best guidelines. Any older children under 18 years old must wear a seatbelt even if they no longer need a car seat.

How To Choose the Right Car Seat for Your Child

Choosing the right car seat for your child can seem like an intimidating challenge as a first-time parent. Even if you’ve had kids before, you may have to reconsider your strategy depending on what kind of vehicle you have and what your child’s size is. If you want a launching point, you can use this calculator on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website. Here, you can input your child’s date of birth, height in feet and inches, and weight in pounds and ounces.

After providing the required information, the website will generate a recommendation for the type of car seat you should use. For example, imagine that you input that your baby is two years and three months old, weighs 27 pounds, and is 35 inches tall. This generates a recommendation that your child should be just transitioning into a forward-facing seat.

You can implement sound judgment when deciding on the right car seat for your child. Make sure that you understand each car seat’s various components, including tethers and anchor attachments. You can also refer to your specific vehicle’s manual for guidance.

Other Child Car Safety Tips

While finding the right car seat will definitely be one of your priorities, here are some other car safety tips you can use to keep your family safe:

  • Teach your kids to act calmly and not distract the driver.
  • Have all children, even the ones over 12 years old, ride in the backseat when possible.
  • Don’t let your kids buckle up with bulky clothing on, as this can limit the straps’ effectiveness.
  • Limit snacking in the car to prevent choking.
  • Always check the backseat before leaving your vehicle; you never want to leave your kids alone in a car.

Now that you’re familiar with some helpful child car safety tips, you may want to find a safe and reliable family vehicle. Give us a call today or head over to our dealership at Classic Toyota to browse our selection. We’ll let you test drive any vehicle that catches your eye, and we’re more than happy to review the safety features of any vehicle you’re considering.


Isaac in Car Seat by Wiegand Family is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0

Posted in Toyota Safety