Baby Safety Month: How Car Seat Safety Has Improved
Car seats are vital in keeping your child safe in the car. Over the years, safety has improved greatly, and as a result, the number of car-related deaths for children under the age of 12 decreased by 43% between 2002 and 2011. If you had your children in recent years, you may not realize the recent improvements in car seat safety, so to bring more awareness during this Baby Safety Month and Child Passenger Safety Week, Consumer Reports has compiled a list of how car seat safety has improved in recent years. Check them out below.
Child Seat Crash Tests
Just this year, Consumer Reports changed the way they assess child seats in crash testing. By including a simulated front seatback, testing at higher speeds, and including tests conducted on vehicle seats, Consumer Reports can replicate how it would be for a real child in a real car seat involved in a real accident, therefore determining just how safe various types and models of car seats are. The testing will expand in 2015 to include convertible car seats.
Increase of Rear-Facing Time
Regulations these days require parents to keep their babies in rear-facing car seats for at least the first two years of life. But until recently, the new recommendations were often lost on parents, who would choose to move their infants to forward-facing seats so the child could see more easily, and because it was easier to keep an eye on the baby this way. Parents and healthcare providers are finally getting the message though, and babies are riding backwards for longer, which is the safest way for them to sit in the car while they’re still young.
Popularity of Convertible Seats
Because it’s now recommended for infants to ride in rear-facing seats for longer, more and more manufacturers are offering convertible car seats to help ease the process as the child gets bigger. Rear-facing-only car seats fill the weight requirements (30 to 35 lbs) but many don’t meet height requirements. A convertible seat offers a safer height, and will save you money and hassle when it’s time to turn your child to face forward.
Widespread Use of Tethers
Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) systems are required by law on most new vehicles. Yet many parents forget to use the tethers for forward-facing seats around half of the time. However, utilizing the tethers can dramatically reduce forward motion in a crash, reducing the risk of injury significantly. Excessive forward motion can result in head injuries, which can have a devastating effect. With safety regulators reiterating the importance of tether use, more parents are remembering to do so, and that trend will hopefully continue.
Labeling Changes for LATCH
Changes in requirements for car seat safety labels will help educate parents and caregivers about weight limits for LATCH lower anchors. These anchors come with a maximum weight limit with which they can be used, which is 65lbs total (including child and car seat). Previously, these limits were not labeled clearly, causing parents to continue using them long after they should have switched to securing the seat using the seatbelt. Hopefully, these new labels will help reduce injury of children in car accidents.
News Source: Consumer Reports