Many of today’s parents never rode in a safe car seat as an infant. In fact, most of them were held in their parent’s arms when they went for a ride in the car. Today, everyone knows that babies and young children are safest in a car seat but they don’t always use them correctly. There are some things about car seat safety that every parent should know before they ever put their baby in the car.

Rear-facing Seats

Infants and toddlers are safest when their car seat is installed according to the directions and facing the rear of the car. When faced to the rear, the car seat absorbs most of the impact in a crash. This means the harness won’t pull the baby as hard as it would if it was facing in the other direction. Young children in rear-facing car seats are less likely to be injured. A baby should ride in this type of car seats at least until his or her second birthday. Parents can use an infant seat or a convertible car seat in the rear-facing position.

Older Children

When a healthy child turns two, they are typically strong enough to sit facing the front of the car. Proper installation is very important when it comes to forward-facing car seats. The seat needs to be installed exactly according to the directions for it to protect a child from serious injuries. Although most young children today ride in car seats, far too many of them are hurt in crashes simply because their restraint wasn’t installed correctly. In most cases, it takes more than connecting the seat belt to the car seat to protect the child.

Parents should get more information about car seat safety months before their baby is born. It’s important to only use new car seats because the effectiveness of a car seat drops substantially if the restraint is involved in an accident. Every box includes detailed instructions on the proper way to install the car seat and expectant parents should take the time to read the pamphlet so they are certain the child restraint is secure when they put the new baby in it for the first time.