Across the country, laws are in place that demand a child under 5 years old be secured when traveling in a vehicle. Due to their vulnerability, special safety precautions are required when taking a trip with infants and children. Laws have been implemented to ensure a child’s travel safety during the years before a standard seat belt will suffice.
Infant, convertible, and booster seat restraints are intended to protect the youth of America in case of collision. There are both age and height requirements for the different types of restraints.
Infant seats are intended for babies up to the weight of 22 pounds and 29 inches in height. The seat is designed to protect the delicate neck and head of an infant upon impact, so the placement of this car seat is crucial. When riding in the car, the infant seat must face the rear of the vehicle so that in the event of impact, the baby will safely absorb the shock in his back and shoulders. Note: Never place the infant restraint in the front seat because of the air bag; in the event the front air bag inflates, it may have fatal consequences.
The convertible seat holds children up to 40 pounds and 40 inches tall. The seat is placed in a reclined rear-facing position. After children reach their first birthday and 20 pounds, the convertible seat can face forward. In the upright, the child can better interact and look around from their position in the back seat of the vehicle.
Booster seats are for older children; these restraints are used by any child who is at least 5 years old but under the age of 8, who is up to 4 foot 9 inches tall. This means that a child may be 6 or 7 years old but still need to ride in a car seat due to their shorter stature. Once a child outgrows the child seat restraint system, it is safe to be secured with a standard seat belt inside the vehicle.
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