Picking the Right Car Seat for Your Toddler
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Find out how to pick out the right car child safety seat for your toddler.


Hello! I am Stephanie Tombrello, Executive Director of Safety Belt Safe USA. We are talking about protecting your toddler or young child while riding in the car. Now, I am going to talk about selecting safety seats for a toddler or young child. There is a wide range of safety seats and other safety products that are appropriate for transporting children in this age range. These children vary quite a bit by size and weight. Our first choice would be for them to ride rear-facing as long as possible. This convertible seat goes to beyond 30 pounds rear-facing and up to 65 pounds forward-facing, which gives a lot of freedom for a family for use with a child of this, in this category. First, you can use it rear-facing, in the semi-reclined position, with the straps coming at or below shoulder level. You can adjust this particular seat's strap level by turning a knob on the side of the top of the seat. So, that's your adjustment system. It has, of course, latch and it can be used with the safety belt. This one has a top tether that can be used both rear-facing and forward-facing. So, that's a feature that may be very useful particularly for the heavier child who is in the rear-facing position. Once the youngster is too heavy for that position and the seat is placed fully upright and is used with the tether. There are also lock-offs to hold the safety belt if it doesn't have its own locking system and that's true for the rear-facing position as well. The retainer clip is placed between some rubberized materials which in this case should be left on the seat. They are definitely needed when the seat is forward-facing, but you don't want to loose them and there's no reason to take them off. I also would point out that these are nice, short neck protectors. They won't interfere with the retainer clip or chest clip, but they will be just at the right place for comfort, for both the infant and the older child. Another choice if the youngster is either older or heavier than 30-35 pounds and can no longer ride rear-facing, is this child seat booster. This particular one, unlike the average one, can be used with the full harness system to 65 pounds. This one has adjustment system for the harness that's based on a locking -- a turn dial for locking the back and then you have to move the strap. So, you can adjust the height of the seat by pulling up on it. However, the straps need to be moved and adjusted to the shoulder level for the child and here, you use the traditional splitter plate to move the straps into higher and higher strap slots. Some of these seats come with extra padding for the younger children using the seat, but this can be removed. The adjustment for the harness is, again, in the front which is an advantage for the parent who can reach and get a snug fit. You want to make sure, of course, that the retainer clip is at armpit level. So, these are two different types; a convertible seat, rear-facing and forward-facing, and a child seat booster used to 65 pounds with the harness. But after that, you can remove the harness and use it as a booster seat. So, both of these seats have two different usages, but they cover different kinds of protection for different phases of this toddler young child category. Next, we are going to talk about how to make your child safe in a motor vehicle made before 1996.