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What are the different types of child safety seats?

This week we are discussing the use of child safety seats in New York. In our last post we discussed the specific laws that our state has when it comes to using restraint systems and booster seats. While these systems do a great job at protecting our children, many parents do not really understand the different types of systems that are available.

There are basically four different types of restraints for children. The first kind is usually used for infants and newborns. These are known as rear-facing car seats. These seats face to the rear of the car and the seat cradles the child’s spine and neck during a crash. It also has a harness that keeps the child secure. Within this type of car seat there are different choices. You can get a seat that is only rear-facing. Your child will eventually outgrow this type of seat. These are often the types of seats that can be clicked out of a base and carried. You can also get a convertible seat that can change to forward-facing, or an all-in-one seat that can become forward-facing and later be used as a booster seat.

The next type of seat is called a forward-facing car seat. This has a harness and tether that keeps your child from moving forward during a crash. These car seats come in the all-in-one or convertible, as we discussed above, and also in a combination seat which can later turn the forward-facing seat into a booster.

The next stage up is the booster seat. Besides the all-in-one and combination options, you can also just buy a booster seat that comes with a high back or without a back. Booster seats help boost the child up so that the vehicle’s seatbelt is positioned properly over the child’s chest. The high back variety can provide additional head and neck support for the child.

Finally, the last type of restraint is the vehicle’s seat belt. The belt should be positioned tightly across the chest and shoulder and should not lie on the neck, face or stomach. In our next post we will discuss the importance of installing the seats properly.

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