car seats

There is no doubt that car seats are a priority in the essential baby gear list among parents. According to our children's health expert Dr. Michel Cohen, owning a car seat is one thing: using properly is another. Many injuries occur when the seat is improperly fastened. It may sound obvious, but to limit the risk to your child, read your car seat's instructions carefully.

Babies who weight less than twenty pounds (under one year, on average) should ride in the back of the car, facing backward in an infant seat. Kids who weigh more than twenty pounds should be moved to a front-facing seat. Use some common sense in deciding when to switch.

Some very slim kids won't weigh twenty pounds before eighteen months or so, but if they become strong enough to support themselves, you can let them face forward at one year of age in a properly fitted car seat. Similarly, a heavy eight-month-old who happens to pass the twenty-pound mark should not be switched to a front-facing seat too early. At forty pounds, you can switch Jimmy to a booster seat with a seat-belt reducer.

Finally, kids can ride in the front seat when their feet touched the floor (usually by age twelve) and the seat belt fits comfortable. At any point before this, the front-seat air bag is a serious hazard, even with a rear-facing car seat.