Child Safety Seat Age
Booster seats are recommended for children until they are big enough to properly use a seat belt. Seat belts are engineered for adults, and are thus too big for small children. In the United States, for children under the age of 4 and/or under 40 pounds (18 kg), a seat with a 5-point harness is suggested instead of a booster seat.
Booster seats lift the child and allow the seat belt to sit firmly across the collar bone and chest, with the lap portion fitted to the hips. If the seat belt is not across the collar bone and the hips, it will ride across the neck and the stomach and cause internal injuries in the event of a collision.
The tether is located on the top rear of convertible, combination, and all-in-one car seats. It’s adjustable and has a hook and strap that connects to one of your vehicle’s tether anchors. Most rear-facing car seats in the United States do not use a tether for installation. However, installations vary from model to model, so you must review your particular car seat’s instructions and your vehicle’s owner manual carefully.
All child restraints have an expiration date. Seats can expire 6 years from the date of manufacture, although this can vary by manufacturer. Expiration dates are highly debated, with proponents and manufacturers claiming that older car seats can degrade over time to be less effective and that changing laws and regulations necessitate an expiration date. Opponents argue that it is simply for their legal protection and to sell more car seats, and point out that manufacturers have noted that the plastics in most car seats long outlast the expiration date. As ageing is due to temperature swings and UV-light, a seat ages faster in a car than in a cool, dark cellar.
Manufacturers have quality controls to ensure seats are properly put together and packaged. However, it is not guaranteed that the included instructions are always adhered to and correctly followed. Up to 95% of the safety seats that are installed may not be the right seat for the child, may be hooked into the vehicle loosely, may be hooked with an incompatible belt in the vehicle, may have harnesses incorrectly fastened in some way, or may be incorrectly placed in front of air bags. In 1997, six out of ten children who were killed in vehicle crashes were not correctly restrained.
Since the first car was manufactured and put on the market in the early 1900s, many modifications and adjustments have been implemented to protect those that drive and ride in motorized vehicles. Most restraints were put into place to protect adults without regard for young children. Though child seats were beginning to be manufactured in the early 1930s, their purpose was not the safety of children. The purpose was to act as booster seats to bring the child to a height easier for the driving parent to see them. It was not until 1962 that two designs with the purpose of protecting a child were developed independently. British inventor Jean Ames created a rear-facing child seat with a Y-shaped strap similar to today's models. American Leonard Rivkin, of Denver Colorado, designed a forward-facing seat with a metal frame to protect the child. It is noted that seat belts for adults were not standard equipment in automobiles until the 1960s.