Different states have different laws governing ages, height and weight requirements for both forward-facing and booster seats. Several states require car seats for children up to eight years of age and 80 pounds. Even if your state doesn’t have laws requiring older children to remain in a car seat or booster seat, it’s still a good idea to keep your child in one. Once your child is 57 inches tall, he should fit properly into your car’s standard seat belt. Children under the age of 13 will still be safest in the back seat of the vehicle.
Now that you’ve got your child in an age and weight-appropriate car seat, you may begin hearing some complaints from the back seat. Many kids don’t mind car rides at all, but some like to express their displeasure at being contained. This can not only be noisy, but can also be a distraction to the driver. For the littlest riders, the rear-facing position can be lonely. A mirror facing forward can entertain a small toddler or infant. It is almost as though you’ve installed a little “friend” for your child to talk with during the ride. These mirrors will help you see your baby’s reflection as well. Some other soothers for all size kids can be music, audio books with kid-friendly stories, or sing-a-longs with mommy and daddy. You could even make a recording of yourself singing and play it in the car to save your voice on long trips. If you have an additional adult riding along, your child might be comforted by having some company in the back seat. You should also make sure you have good sun shades protecting your child’s eyes from the sun. If your child is uncomfortable, that could also trigger an unpleasant response. Check your child’s shoulder straps to ensure they aren’t too tight or resting in an uncomfortable position. Also make sure that your child has plenty of legroom. Forward facing children may need the seat in front of them moved forward to allow their legs plenty of room to stretch out. Another thing you may want to try is to bring the car seat in the house when you aren’t using it. Put in a location where your child can access and explore it under your supervision. Sometimes, letting your child get acquainted with his car seat will make him more comfortable when you put it back in the car.
Finally, keep in mind that the most important thing is to keep your child safe. If your child cannot be comforted by any means while riding in the car, try to keep long car trips to a minimum. I have always believed that the more often your child experiences something, the more accustomed to it he will become. You might try taking shorter trips more often and then increase the length of time. This could help your child become more patient with the ride. Eventually your child will calm down and accept traveling. Until then, keep that music playing and keep your focus on the road.
That’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed listening. I’d love to hear from you.
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Car Seat image courtesy of Shutterstock