As a parent, your vehicle is no doubt a hive of activity. Whether you are chauffeuring your youngest to and from daycare or taking your older children to sports practice, you’ll want to make sure they are safely secured throughout the journey. But car seat safety isn’t just a moral choice, it’s a legal obligation, too.
In this article, we’ll explore the laws surrounding car seat safety, how to research today’s best car seats and how to keep your child safe while you are driving wherever life takes you and your family.
Car Seat Requirements in Ohio – What You Need to Know
Car crashes are the most common cause of death among children in the United States. Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, has reported that more than half of the children killed in car crashes had not been wearing child safety seats or seatbelts. For this reason, it is essential for any parent or guardian to ensure that their child is travelling safely at all times using the most suitable method for their weight and height.
Ohio law requirements for car seats are as follows:
- Children must ride in a child safety seat until they are 4 years old or weigh at least 40 pounds.
- Children aged 4-8 must use a booster seat until they reach a height of 4 feet, 9 inches.
- Children aged 8-15, and who do not need a booster seat, must wear a seatbelt whether they are sitting in the front or backseat of the vehicle.
Choosing the Right Car Seat For Your Child
So, that’s the legal information out of the way. Now you face the next challenge – finding the best car seat for your child. With hundreds of different car seats on the market today, you might be wondering which way to turn. The good news is that there are plenty of car seat safety resources online to help you to make the right decision. For example, Safewise, an independent review website, lists some of the best car seats for 2019. and includes reviews from parents and car seat safety ratings.
Before purchasing a car seat, check the product description or label to make sure it is suitable for your child’s age, height and weight. Did you know that car seats also have an expiration date? Double-check the label to ensure the car seat is still safe.
It is recommended that you purchase a brand new car seat rather than purchasing a second-hand product. A second-hand car seat may have been involved in a crash and be defective or could have issues that are not apparent at the time of purchase. A brand new car seat, on the other hand, will come straight from the manufacturer and will usually be protected by a warranty.
Here are four car seats that we recommend that are affordable, easy-to-use, and known for their safety and design.
- The Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is great for a number of features, such as a steel frame, flexibility for child growth, and an easy-to-use latching system. (https://www.amazon.com/Graco-4Ever-Convertible-Seat-Matrix/dp/B00Y2863GQ)
- The Diono Radian 3RXT All-in-one Convertible Car Seat can allow for three of these seats to fit in the back of your car at once. The frame is also reinforced with aluminum for added protection. (https://www.amazon.com/Diono-Radian-Convertible-Children-Pounds/dp/B07DWBZMBJ)
- The Evenflo LiteMax DLX Infant Car Seat is a rear-facing seat that offers comfortable latch padding, a load leg to prevent the seat from moving, and a snug and easy-to-fasten harness. (https://www.amazon.com/Evenflo-LiteMax-Infant-Seat-Mallard/dp/B07MQ4VT9X)
- 24: The Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat is a rear-facing seat that offers one of the firmest harnesses on the market. The seat can also be used with compatible Chicco strollers. (https://www.amazon.com/Chicco-KeyFit-Infant-Seat-Lilla/dp/B00MS9VTG0)
Car Seat Safety – How to Install and Use a Car Seat Safely and Prevent Injuries
Of course, you could buy the best car seat on the market, but if it’s not installed or used correctly, their car seat safety rating will be meaningless. Always read the manual that comes with your car seat, and if you are confused in any way, check locally for a certified car seat safety technician that can help you to install your seat and show you how to use it correctly. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
he National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) puts the number of improperly installed car seats at 3 out of every 4. So far in 2014, Graco (a leading car seat manufacturer) has recalled over 5 million car seats due to faulty buckles that would get stuck, making it hard to remove a car seat quickly and efficiently.
There are two tests you can carry out once your car seat has been installed:
- The Inch Test – Once you have installed your car seat, grab it on each side with two hands and give it a good shake at the base. If the car seat moves more than an inch side to side or front to back, you will need to tighten the buckles more or check that the harness has passed through the correct slots.
- The Pinch Test – Place your child in the car seat with the straps done up. Pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you cannot pinch any excess strap webbing, you’re ready to hit the road.
TIP: Car accidents are terrifying and stressful situations. They are even more terrifying when your child is in the backseat. Hopefully, you will never encounter a serious car accident, but there is one thing you can do that might help them out if you do. By adding important details to your child’s car seat, you could give EMS crucial information that could help them to save your child’s life and give them the most suitable medical treatment. Grab a label and include their full name, date of birth, parents’ names, medications, emergency contacts, allergies and anything else that might help first responders.
Keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible. It ensures the best head, neck, and spine protection. Go over the Car Seat Checklist (provided by Safe Kids Worldwide). Keep soft toys in the car seat/car so in case an accident is to occur, no hard or sharp objects go flying around, causing even more injury.
Don’t take your child’s safety for granted. Choosing the right car seat or seating position will give you peace of mind on every journey and ensure you stay well within car seat safety laws.