No matter if you have a newborn or a toddler, it’s important you practice good car seat safety. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, putting a child in a car seat correctly can decrease the risk of death or serious injury by 70 percent. If you need a refresher or you’re expecting your first child, keep reading to learn the ins and outs of car seat safety.

3 Best Car Seat Practices

No two car seats are the same, so it’s important you take the time to get familiar with your child’s car seat and how it’s going to fit in your vehicle. On top of that, here are three car seat practices you need to follow:

Car Seat SafetyMake sure the seat is facing the right direction

In the past, it was recommended that parents wait until their child was two years old to switch their car seats from rear- to forward-facing. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) changed their car seat safety guidelines in 2018. Instead of waiting until the kids are two, they say parents should follow their car seat manufacturer’s height or weight limits. Typically, after a child has reached the limits provided by the manufacturer, they should be seated in a belted booster seat until the child reaches 4 feet 9 inches, is over 40 pounds, and is around eight to 12 years old.

Use LATCH or a seat belt and install correctly

Lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH) systems are in every vehicle made on or after September 1, 2002. You can either use the LATCH system or a seat belt to secure the car seat, it all depends on which one has the tighter, better fit. Make sure you read the owner’s manual covering the car seat and your vehicle in order to properly install it.

Regardless of whether you use a seat belt or the LATCH system, the rule of thumb is to make sure the car seat doesn’t move more than an inch side to side and front to back.

Take note of the car seat’s history

If the car seat you have was used, make sure you know what it’s been through if you’ve never used it before. You don’t want a car seat that’s been in an accident, has been recalled, is too old, or has any cracks or dents. To check if your car seat has been subject to a recall, go to the NHTSA’s website and look up your specific car seat.

Looking for a Safer Vehicle?

Besides having a reliable car seat, you should make sure the vehicle you’re driving is safe, too. If you’ve been thinking about buying a safer car for you and your family, but worry your credit is holding you back, we want to help.

At Auto Credit Express, we work with a nationwide network of special finance dealerships that have the lending resources available to help people with credit challenges. Take the first step toward getting matched to a dealer near you by filling out our online auto loan request form today.