Car seat safety is an important topic for parents to be adept with to ensure their child is protected while riding in a vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1-13. Car seats and boosters provide protection for infants and young children when traveling in the car. Choosing the right seat and making sure it’s properly installed is just as important in keeping your child or infant safe.
When it comes to finding the right car seat, parents can explore the four different car seat types. As a child grows, the type of car seat will change to fit the child’s weight and age.
Types of Car Seats
Birth – 1 Year | Rear-Facing Car Seat
Each car seat has its own height and weight limits for rear-facing children. According to the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division, all children must remain rear-facing until they are at least 1 year of age and 20 pounds. However, children should stay rear-facing as long as possible, until the child reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the seat manufacturer. Any rear-facing seat must be installed in the back seat of the vehicle. Rear-facing car seats are designed to cradle and move with the infant to reduce the stress on the baby’s neck and spinal cord – in the event of an accident.
1-3 Years | Forward Facing Car Seat
Once a child outgrows the rear-facing seat, a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether in the back seat is recommended. Parents should be familiar with the seat manufacturer’s guidelines for height and weight limitations and safety precautions.
4-7 Years | Booster Seat
Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat until he or she reaches the height or weight limit. Once the forward-facing car seat has been outgrown, a booster seat in the back seat is recommended until a seat belt fits properly. In New Mexico, booster seats must be used with both lap and shoulder belts. Booster seats cannot be used with a lap belt alone.
8-12 Years | Seat Belt
Once a child outgrows a booster seat a seat belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs of the child. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest, not the neck or face.
Regardless of which car seat type, your child should ride in the back seat. The back seat is the safest place in the vehicle.
How Sanchez and Piñon Can Help
If you’ve experienced an auto accident involving an infant or small child and are seeking representation, contact Sanchez and Piñon, Rio Rancho’s auto accident and injury attorneys. We provide free consultations and a personal level of representation. We can discuss how to fight for the compensation you and your loved ones deserve.