It is without doubt that an infant’s growth is quite fast and as you enjoy the earlier months with your bundle of joy, it comes a time you start to wonder when to upgrade from your infant car seat.
What to consider when you want to upgrade
1. Weight limits
Each and every car seat comes with an owner’s manual that has instructions on how the car seat should be installed and also the weight limit. This however varies by brand. Seat harness straps are only designed to retain the listed weight so it is important to stop using the seat when the child reaches the weight limit.
2. Height limits
In the same manual you are provided with the maximum height that your child should be, once exceeded you should definitely consider on upgrading. This is because if your child’s head is above the top of the seat then the neck and head won’t be protected in the event of a crash. It is recommended that the child’s head should be at least an inch off the top of the seat.
Every child grows at a different rate so using age as a determinant in upgrading your car seat is not very effective. However, it is recommended that the infant car seat should be used to the age of 12 or 15 months afterwards one should take up a rear-facing convertible seat. Although this convertible seat is not as convenient as the infant car seat in that it is not portable.
Other factors may include,
There is a lifespan for every car seat and it is highly recommended for you to check your owner’s manual for the expiry date. This is to make sure the seat is not too worn out especially on the straps. It however mostly applies in those cases where parents pass down the car seat from one baby to the other.
2. When it has been involved in a car crash
If your car has been involved in an accident to the point of being towed or the door close to where the car seat was has been damaged it is highly recommended to change the seat.
Safety tips after upgrading
- Always follow the manual’s instructions on installing the car seat, check the weight and height limits and also the expiration date.
- It is recommended that you always put the car seat at the back passenger seat and make sure the seat is tightly fitted.
- Always make sure the car seat is strapped in whether the baby is on board or not to avoid it from moving forward especially when the car comes to a halt.
- The car seat should be used rear-facing for as long as possible. With both the infant car seat and the convertible seat they should be rear facing this has proven to provide better support for the head and the neck of the baby in the event of a front on impact.