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How to Install a Carseat

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-If you're having a baby, one of the first pieces of equipment you'll need to buy is a car seat. In fact, you won't even be able to drive home from the hospital without one. Hi. I'm David Sparrow, senior editor at Parents Magazine, and I'm here to tell you everything you need to know about buying, maintaining and installing a cars seat. -I'm Doreen Bail. And I have a 2-year old Lily, and I have a 9-week old Charlie. And you're a [unk] too-- -We have two cars and we have a truck and then also in our other car, we also have car seat as well, just in case, so we're not taking car seats in and out of car because we're not short of use taking anywhere, so, there's always a car with the car seats for the kids. They were less expensive car seats that's in have the same reviews if you would. And I didn't get the same recommendations and they were less expensive but, you know, pretty much in the same range, you know, they're over, like $200. But, you can find some in the, you know, less than that and, you know, as long as they have good consumer reviews, you know, and you like it-- it matches your car and your kids-- whatever you like, you know, it's fine. -Money is certainly not the number one factor you should consider. You need to think about safety and how well other parts seem to fit. How user-friendly it is for you to install properly. These are really the most important things, and you don't necessarily have to spend a lot of money to get a safe car seat. Well, you certainly-- you can buy a car seat in many different ways, but probably be going to a store is your best starting point because you want to be able to look at the car seats, try out the features, take a real look at them and get expert advice from the sales person. -When our customers comes in looking for a car seat. Generally, they're looking for newborn car seat because that's the first stage that they would be needing. So, we'll find out some of the specifics about what their particular needs are and their lifestyles are, and then, help them gauge what they would need as far as their particular seat needs. Almost everybody is going to start out with an infant car seat and these models will be rear facing and many of them are actually ones that you can strap in and out of a stroller system. -Yeah, what you would do is, this should come with the base. The base would be fastened properly into the car and then, this will click right into the base. When you go to take it out, you just undo it from its base and bring them into the house. -Another type of car seat is the convertible car seat. These start out as rear-facing when your child is an infant or a baby. -As they grow and hit about a year old-- again, it depends on the child and it depends on their length and weight. This seat will then turn around so that they can be forward-facing. -A booster seat is something that your child, generally, will be ready for around age 4. -If they're large enough-- can sit on a booster with no back. Again, the safety belts come around, lock in and go across their chest at the right height. -A booster doesn't have a quiet as much protection as the infant and toddler car seats. -But it's a convenient option for people who are not in the same car all the time who might have to move this from car to car. -There are also travel car seats which you can use in a taxi or on an airplane. -For people who live in urban areas like New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, who maybe traveling by car or so by taxi will often buy something like this that actually built into the belt systems of the car and it's lightweight [unk] system so they're secure but they can easily take it with them when they're going in and out of the cab and traveling around the city. -These are very lightweight and adoptable for that situation but-- probably not which you would wanna use for your every day car use. Well, I have a few car seat do's and don'ts to make sure that you keep your car seat safe-- that is installed properly and that you're having the maximum effect for your child. So our first do is, do make sure that the car seat is snuggly installed. That is, it should not wiggle more than an inch in either direction. Do make sure that the snaps are snug on your child. You don't want the straps to be able to loose. It shouldn't be able to get more than one finger underneath the strap once it's around your child. Do keep your child in a booster seat until he is at least 8 years old and or 57 inches tall. Many people don't use the booster seat at all or gave it up too soon. And now it's time for the don'ts. Don't convert the car seat to a front-facing position until your child is truly ready for that to happen. The longer you can keep your child rear-facing, the safer he will be. Don't let your child sit in your lap in the back-- you're in a quick cab ride, you might think it's safe, it's not. It's extremely dangerous. That's why car seats are vital thing, you should always use them. Don't buy a used car seat under any circumstance, you're better off buying a new car seat because it will have the latest technology and you can be sure that it will be safe. Don't put your child in the front seat of the car under any circumstances. The airbag could activate and that could be extremely dangerous for a child under the age of 13, particularly child who is young enough that he or she needs to still be in a car seat. More than 70 percent of car seats are installed incorrectly, and that's a very dangerous statistic because more than 2,000 children are tragically killed in car accidents every year and more than 250,000 are injured. And many of these injuries can be prevented by installing a car seat properly. Now, for parents who are having trouble doing so, they really should go to a local child safety seat inspection station in their area and these centers can give people the help that they need to make sure that the car seat is installed properly. You can find the information on the closest inspection station area at ccheck.org or you can go to your local fire or police station and get the information there. As you can see, a car seat is the one most important safety purchases you can make for your child. So, follow the directions carefully, do your research and you'll keep your child safe on the road. Good luck.