Car Seats

 

  • All children, until they reach about age eight should be in a car seat or booster seat.
  • Under Rhode Island Law, in order to sit in a seatbelt without a child safety seat (car seat or booster seat) a child must be at least 8 years old, 57 inches and 80 lbs. The height is the most important factor.
  • Infants and toddlers should be kept rear facing until at least 2 years old or reach the weight limit of the carseat
  • A child should be kept in the 5 point harness in a forward facing seat as long as possible (until they reach weight/height limit on seat) before being transferred to a booster seat
  • There are many different types of car seats.
    • Rear facing only car seats are infant seats that may be taken in and out of the car and usually have two separate parts: The bucket car seat and the base that stays in the car. Weight limits vary from 22-35 lbs depending on the seat.
    • Convertible car seats may be used both rear facing and forward facing. Weight and height limits differ for rear facing vs forward facing. Weight limits rear facing vary from 22-40 lbs depending on the seat. Forward facing weight limits vary from 40-70 lbs depending on the seat.
    • 3 in 1 car seats may be used rear facing, forward facing and as a booster seat. Weight and high limits vary depending on the seat.
    • Combination car seats can be used forward facing and as a booster seat. Weight and height limits vary depending on the seat.
    • Booster Seats are for children who are at least 3 years old and can be trusted to not remove the seat belt while traveling. Minimum height depends on the seat (lowest is 34 inches) and go up to 57 inches. A select few have a higher height limit.
    • Many parents have concerns about their toddlers legs touching the back of the vehicle seat when rear facing. This is okay. Your child can easily bend the legs to fit comfortably. Remember the reasoning behind keeping your child rear facing until age two is to prevent a serious or fatal head injury during a crash. Leg injuries are rare during a crash and a leg injury is better for a child than a head injury!
    • During the winter some parents find that the car seat harness does not fit properly over a winter coat. This is not a reason to take a child out of a harness and move them to a booster seat if they do not meet the height and weight requirement of a booster seat. Bring your child to the car wearing their coat, remove the coat when placed in the car seat and bundle a warm blanket over them once the harness has been fastened. When you get to your destination take the child out of the harness and put the winter coat back on.