Child Car Seat Safety System
Group 0+ car seats commonly have a chassis permanently fixed into the car by an adult seat belt and can be placed into some form of baby transport using the integral handle if it is the specific model. Rear-facing child seats are inherently safer than forward-facing child seats because they provide more support for the child's head in the event of a sudden deceleration. Although some parents are eager to switch to a forward-facing child seat because it seems more "grown up," various countries and car seat manufacturers recommend that children continue to use a rear-facing child seat for as long as physically possible
The American Academy of Pediatrics says to “make sure the seat is at the correct angle so your infant’s head does not flop forward. Many seats have angle indicators or adjusters that can help prevent this. If your seat does not have an angle adjuster, tilt the car safety seat back by putting a rolled towel or other firm padding (such as a pool noodle) under the base near the point where the back and bottom of the vehicle seat meet.” Safety seats come with an instruction booklet with additional information on the appropriate angle for the seat.
Registering your seat makes sense: It gives the manufacturer the ability to contact you about recalls and safety notices. It’s also easy: Just send in the card that came with your car seat or fill out a simple form on the manufacturer’s website.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides guidance on the reuse of child restraint systems after a crash. Replacement of child restraints is recommended following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of protection for child passengers. However, recent studies demonstrate that child restraints can withstand minor crash impacts without any documented degradation in subsequent performance.
A child can be moved from a booster seat to a vehicle’s factory installed back-seat safety belt, only after passing the Safety Belt Fit Test. Return your child to a booster seat if the safety belt does not fit perfectly.
In 1990, the ISO standard ISOFIX was launched in an attempt to provide a standard for fixing car seats into different makes of car. The standard now includes a top tether; the U.S. version of this system is called LATCH. Generally, the ISOFIX system can be used with Groups 0, 0+ and 1.
A study of car crash data from 16 U.S. states found that children under the age of 3 were 43% less likely to be injured in a car crash if their car seat was fastened in the center of the back seat rather than on one side. Results were based on data from 4,790 car crashes involving children aged 3 and younger between 1998 and 2006. According to data, the center position was the safest but least used position. However, economist Steven Levitt (see below) has demonstrated that car seats do not reduce fatalities when compared to regular seat belts.
Generally, countries that regulate passenger safety have child safety laws that require a child to be restrained appropriately depending on their age and weight. These regulations and standards are often minimums, and with each graduation to the next kind of safety seat, there is a step down in the amount of protection a child has in a collision. Some countries, such as Australia and the United States, forbid rear-facing child seats in a front seat that has an airbag. A rear-facing infant restraint put in the front seat of a vehicle places an infant's head close to the airbag, which can cause severe head injuries or death if the airbag deploys. Some modern cars include a switch to disable the front passenger airbag for child-supporting seat use.