Parents have a lot to think about when it comes to keeping their children safe: Anchoring dressers. Covering outlets. Installing corner bumpers. Choosing a car seat.
Choosing a car seat is especially important, and choosing the right one can be overwhelming. And a child cannot use the same car seat for life. How can parents know when it’s time to upgrade a car seat?
According to Consumer Reports, here are 5 questions parents can ask that can help them determine if it is time to upgrade their child’s car seat:
- Has your child outgrown the car seat?It is important to be aware of the weight limits for your child’s car seat. However, since most car seats do not have a height limit, it is possible that your child will become too tall for the car seat before becoming too heavy for it.
- Has your child turned one year old? Consumer Reports recommends the use of rear-facing convertible car seats starting at one year old and continuing until the child reaches two years old. These seats offer more head protection.
- Has the car seat expired? Parents should be aware of car seat expiration dates. Typically, car seats have a lifespan of six years.
- Has the car seat been in a crash? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends replacing a car seat if the car was involved in an accident resulting in injuries, or if the car suffered damage.
- What condition is the car seat in? A damaged car seat may not offer the same level of protection. If the car seat is cracked, if straps are worn, or if any other damage is present, it may be time to upgrade.
The goal of a car seat is to protect babies and children riding in cars. Although choosing a car seat can be a confusing process, it is worth parents’ time to thoroughly research all child seat options.