Shopping for a replacement car is often really exciting, but if you’ll be driving around kids in car seats it is often intimidating too. Even cars that publicize themselves as family-friendly sometimes don’t lend themselves to employing a bunch of car seats within the back. Most parents don’t know what to seem for once they head to the dealership, so arm yourself with this information to settle on the simplest car for your family.
Here are six things to believe when picking out a car for car seats. While you’re at it, make certain to read abreast of the foremost common dangerous seat mistakes that oldsters make – this free ebook could save your child’s life.
Find the Tether Anchors
Lots of parents have heard of “LATCH” for installing car seats, but many don’t know what it actually means. The acronym stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for youngsters.
Though you would possibly be most conversant in the clips at rock bottom of your car’s seat back, the unsung hero is that the “tether” a part of the system. Once your child is during a forward-facing seat around age 3, you’ll get to use that top tether alongside either the lower anchors or the seatbelt. It decreases your child’s head movement by up to 6”, reducing the likelihood of injury from hitting the seat ahead. Many forward-facing car seats today require its use.
Unfortunately, you won’t find a tether anchor point behind every seat. American and Canadian cars are required to possess three tether points, and a few manufacturers persist with just that minimum. Even in some minivans with six rear seats, you’ll only find three where you’ll safely install a forward-facing car seat! On the opposite hand, some manufacturers go above and beyond by providing a top tether in every position. you’ll find this on the 2020 Honda Odessey.
Why it matters: you’ll only have one, two, or three kids in car seats back there. But it’s helpful to possess the maximum amount flexibility as possible if you would like to move a cousin during a seat, a grandparent, and eventually a carpooling friend. Some positions will work better than others for various ages and different car seats (especially if they’ll be next to every other), so you’ll want to form sure that your new car gives you many options to accommodate your family through the years. This chart is extremely handy for locating the detailed LATCH configurations of nearly every car.
Once you bring the car home, make certain to see the manual to seek out out how the car head restraints should be positioned once you use the highest tether. Every car is different and you would possibly be surprised at what you discover out! Every now then you’ll encounter a forward-facing seat (or booster seat) that’s incompatible with a car.
Search for Seatbelts That Don’t Overlap
Sometimes car manufacturers do things that make no sense in the least. For a couple of years, one car that was alleged to be an excellent pick for growing families made the confusing option to overlap seatbelts – meaning it wasn’t technically safe or allowed within the manual to seat three people within the back seat. And owners definitely weren’t alleged to install three car seats back there!
It looks like a little detail and one that a long-standing carmaker should have gotten right. But obviously, someone over there dropped the ball for several years.
Do yourself a favor and provides a fast sign up the rear seat to form sure the seat belts don’t cross one another. If you see anything that appears funny, confirm you read the manual to seek out out.
Go for Dedicated Lower Anchors within the Middle
Lower anchors aren’t necessarily any safer than the seatbelt when you’re installing a seat. But many parents find it easier to put in correctly with lower anchors. And if a neater installation means you’ll roll in the hay correctly whenever, you’ll want to make certain your shiny new car has lower anchors where you would like them!
For many parents, meaning they need to be ready to use the lower anchors within the middle of the rear seat. It’s the furthest from any potential impact, so it’s a touch safer than the outboard seats.
But there are many cars on the market that don’t allow a lower anchor installation within the middle! If you see a fanatical set of anchors within the middle, you’re definitely within the clear (that means you’d see either 5 or 6 anchor points as you count going across the rear seat).
But what if there are only four anchor points? you would possibly be ready to use lower anchors within the middle by “borrowing” from the outer seats. But not every car maker allows it and not every seat allows it. You’d got to check both sets of manuals to make certain it’s a secure and legal solution for you.
The easiest option is to settle on a car with dedicated LATCH within the center, just like the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas or 2020 Kia Telluride, if you actually want to avoid a seatbelt installation. Just remember that at some point, you’ll almost certainly need to make the switch, as lower anchors are only allowed until the seat and therefore the child weighs 65 lbs.
Avoid Inflatable Seat Belts for Complete seat Choice
At least that’s what car manufacturers keep saying – and keep asking consumers to buy. But the inflatable seat belts now available on some car models aren’t an honest option for families with kids in car seats.
Many car seats don’t allow installation with inflatable seatbelts. They haven’t been tested together and therefore the car seats aren’t designed to figure with them. Those seating positions are fine when your baby is small because you’ll always install with LATCH.
But usually, around age 4 or 5, you’ll need to start installing your seat with the seatbelt because a load of your child plus seat will hit 65 pounds. If your car is provided with inflatable seat belts and your seat doesn’t allow installation with them, you’ll need to buy a replacement seat – sometimes a dear proposition.
Personally I’d expire the inflatable seat option if you’re a family with seat riders. You never know exactly which seat you’ll need at a given stage of life, and it might be mighty frustrating to seek out yourself stuck a couple of years down the line! If you absolutely love the thought of inflatable seat belts, confirm you check the seat manuals online before you purchase a seat.
Double-Check the Shoulder Belts
Not all seat belts are created equal. Sure, all of them need to follow equivalent guidelines for function and safety. But they don’t all need to follow equivalent design guidelines – and sometimes which will be a true problem for folks.
Some cars have the shoulder belt attached to the car’s frame several inches forward of the seatback. for teenagers riding in harnessed car seats, it’s not an enormous deal. But as your children grow old and eventually (around age 7 or 8) start riding in backless booster seats and later using only the adult seatbelt (around age 10-12), it is often a true problem. These seatbelts sometimes start thus far forward that the shoulder portion doesn’t fully contact your child’s torso when they’re sitting properly. It’s most ordinarily seen within the third row of some minivans – exactly where many parents wish to put their oldest kids.
Be sure to undertake out all the seating positions of a possible new car to form sure the seatbelts are sensibly placed. The last item you’d want is to seek out out a couple of years down the road that there’s no safe way for your kids to ride within the back seat of the “family car”.
Bring the seats on how to select the simplest vehicle for car seats
If you have already got kids (and their car seats), it is often helpful to bring them along on your shopping trip. Some seats work better than others in several cars thanks to the shapes of car seats, headrest requirements, and more. Of course, it’s tons cheaper to exchange a seat than a car, so if you discover a car that you simply absolutely like it might require a special child seat you’ll just factor that into your budget.
I hope the following pointers have helped you get a handle on what to seem for in your new car purchase! While these might sound like small details, they will make or break your experience trying to stay your kids safe within the car.
Guest author: Melissa Conn may be a Child Passenger Safety Technician and avid traveler. you’ll determine more about the nitty-gritty of traveling with a seat at Travel seat Mom or get inspiration for your family’s own adventures at The Family Voyage.