Child safety seats, also sometimes referred to as infant safety seat and child restraint systems, are most often spoken of simply as “car seats;” it’s an ambiguous term but one that most people use.
States and municipalities mandate the use of car seats for children within certain age, weight, and/or height parameters, but often, parents do not know how to properly use the equipment they have. While most makes and models may be assumed to have at least a little something different about them (and you should always check with your owner’s manual before beginning a project with potential safety ramifications), several How-To steps apply to installing a car seat into any car.
Anchored a car seat in the front passenger seat exposes the child to additional risk in head-on or partial-front collisions (the most common). Using the back seat is much preferred, but each year in the U.S., somewhere between 30 and 50 babies and toddlers die in cars, killed by exposure to extremes of heat or cold by caregivers who forget they are in the car. Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle that you are leaving, regardless of how short a time you anticipate you may be gone.
A 16-state study of crash data determined that children aged three or under were a massive 43 percent less likely to sustain any type of injury, in a car crash, when their car seat was fastened centrally in the back seat. Locating the seat to one side may make it easier to load and unload baby care materials or toys, but it reduces the effectiveness of your precautions by almost half.
So, the best location for a child restraint seat is in the center of the back seat (or middle row, if you drive a three-row SUV).
Manufacturer and Style
Many hundreds of variations on the theme of child seats are manufactured, and the decision as to which is best may be down to aesthetics, recommendations from others or multi-purpose applications, such as seats that become carry-cots when removed from the vehicle.
There is a constant here, though: Every child safety seat you consider MUST bear an approval stamp from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA. This governmental body tests, researches and rates car seats, and no product without its approval should be considered, no matter what its other appeals.
As noted, each individual vehicle is likely to be a little different when it comes to installing a car seat, but a universal consideration is that the seat be anchored effectively to the vehicle. A child strapped into a seat which becomes free-flying in a collision is an endangered child.
Since 2002, it has been a regulation that all newly manufactured cars be fitted with the LATCH – Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children – system. This equipment provides secure, heavy metal anchors and tethers beneath or to the sides of the rear seats of all cars, trucks and SUVs that have rear seats. Learn more at the Department of Motor Vehicle’s site.
Burlington Kia is the premier Kia dealer serving Burlington, Willingboro, Bristol and Mansfield New Jersey. Located at 7 West Route 130 South, Burlington, NJ 08016, our opening hours are 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM Mondays through Fridays, and 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Saturdays (we’re closed on Sundays). If you need specific advice concerning installing a car seat in your Kia, or are in the market for a new or used Kia automobile, Burlington Kia is your dealership of choice for models as diverse as the Cadenza sedan and the Sportage SUV.