New Year, New Car Seat Laws

New Year, New Car Seat LawsThe New Year is here and with it comes new car seat recommendations every mom should know. If you’re like me, you are not always up to date on these things, until you see a blog, article, or a friend tells you of the information. As a mom of a toddler, this is especially important for me to know. If you have a toddler, then listen up, mom!

With convertible car seats, there are the options of the latch or seat belt system. My husband and I have used the latch system in my compact car, because that’s what works best for us. Beginning this year, however, if your child and car seat together weigh more than 65 lbs., then the latch system is no longer recommended. A law was passed previously in 2001 regarding the 65 lb. weight limit, but that law did not include the weight of the car seat. We all know car seats can be heavy, so this is good to know! The easiest way to make sure that you are meeting the guidelines and keeping your toddler safe is to simply weight your child, then the car seat. Add their weight together. If their combined weight is over 65 lbs., then you need to use the seat belt system–not the latch system.

As a new mom, I made several mistakes with my daughter’s car seat. It’s important to remember that the retainer clip (the clip that goes across baby’s chest) should be positioned at the midpoint of their chest, not down by their belly. As baby grows out of their infant seat, it is time to switch to a convertible seat.

Another great point to mention is that each state has different car seat laws. This was interesting to me, considering we have lived in three different states since my daughter was born. Make sure that you are following your state’s laws to ensure baby is as safe as possible. There are also local agencies close to you that will gladly do a car seat check to make sure your seat is installed properly and baby is secured correctly.

If you are overwhelmed with the car seat lingo, check this out. The American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends remain in a harness until age 8, so it’s important to know what kind of seat your child should be in.

Happy 2014, mom! Check your car seat and make sure baby is secure to have the safest ride possible!

Karyn Meyerhoff lives in Northeast Indiana where she writes, plays, and dreams with her daughter Johanna Grace. She dreams of having a bigger car someday, and she and Johanna enjoy trips to Starbucks in her awesome orange convertible car seat. 

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