Without maintenance of the nation’s transportation infrastructure, public transportation and roadways would be chaotic and unregulated. The Department of Transportation is responsible for guaranteeing efficient and safe transportation systems. As a cabinet-level agency, it also has agencies that work with and for it.
The NHTSA or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is one of these organizations. Its mission is to reduce traffic-related injuries, to save lives and to cut economic costs associated with traffic. There are three main responsibilities of the NHTSA, and these are:
Research is what is most important when it comes to car seats and vehicle safety. Most of us know about the NHTSA because of its research. This is the agency that crash tests cars and then rates them on a five-star system.
At the end of the day, you want your car seat to be as safe as you know that your car is. This guide will help you with the rules of child seats and also help you to understand Cosco car seat ratings.
What Are NHTSA Safety Ratings?
NHTSA also does studies on child safety seats. It checks the technology and ease of use as a way of testing if they are safe. In fact, the rating that it gives for car seats is the ease of use rating.
image source: nhtsa.gov
You may be wondering what ease of use has to do with safety. The truth is that people install car seats wrong four out of five times. Sometimes this is because of poor instructions or lack of knowledge when it comes to car seats. What you need to know is that car seats do substantially lower your child’s risk of injury during a car accident.
This is why the NHTSA judges car seats this way. If a car seat is difficult for parents to use, then odds are, they are not going to install it correctly. NHTSA gives the car seats a rating out of five stars. Additionally, any car seat checked by the NHTSA, like the Cosco car seats, for instance, follows federal guidelines.
Do We Need Car Seat Laws?
As a parent, one of your most important obligations is to your child, and that includes keeping him or her safe in the car. When it comes to accidents, kids are among the most vulnerable to injury. Car accidents are one of the most common causes of child death. Everyone has an experience where you get frustrated because you have to load your child into the car seat before making a quick trip to the store. Remember that accidents can happen in seconds.
The car seat laws are there to protect your children and you. Not only do they make sure that people obey the laws and keep their child secure in a car seat, but it also gives you valuable information. Using the rules from state to state, you can usually figure out what is safe and what isn’t for your child. The laws not only protect, but they also give information that parents need. If you’re a first time parent, understanding the ins and outs of car seats can be difficult.
What Are the Car Sear Guidelines?
There are no federal laws involving the use of car seats; however, there are federal regulations regarding manufacturing. The NHTSA only rates car seats that follow its guidelines. Cosco car seats, for instance, is a brand that prides itself on supporting the guidelines.
Every state has its own set of rules, but many of these are very similar. Here are some of those guidelines for which seat to choose.
Premature or With Medical Conditions
Some babies are too small for a rear-facing seat. If you have a premature baby or one who has a medical condition that makes sitting upright dangerous or difficult, then you should look into a bed car seat. These car seats allow the baby to lie on his or her back, while strapped in securely. When it comes to premature babies, their organs develop more when they are lying on their backs.
Birth Until 12 Months
Babies under a year old should have a rear-facing car seat. Rear-facing car seats have to be in the backseat and happen to be the safest of all the car seats. These secure seats keep your baby from moving around in the car. It also secures them in a way that when the car stops, they will experience less motion than someone who is sitting facing forward. This protects them, as their bodies are still fragile.
Ages 1 to 3 Years
Once a baby reaches 1 year old until he or she is about 3 years old, a forward-facing seat is used. While you can buy a forward-facing seat, there are also some car seats that come as convertible seats. These seats can change from rear-facing to forward-facing as your baby grows. The forward-facing seat has a tether and a harness. These limit your baby’s movement when a crash occurs and keeps him or her safe.
Ages 4 to 7 Years
At 4 to 7 years old, your child may still be in a forward-facing car seat, or he or she will be in a booster seat. This is heavily dependent on your child’s size and weight. Some children grow faster than others, so this is why there is such a range in the ages that use either type of seat. Most states have specific laws on when your child should sit in a regular seat.
Ages 8 to 12 Years
Most kids can sit in a regular seat by the time they are 8. While you still shouldn’t allow them to sit up front with the airbag, they should be able to sit properly in the back seat as long as they wear their seatbelts. Keep in mind, this is dependent on your child’s weight.
Choose the Right Cosco Car Seat
Not only is Cosco a safe brand, but it is also one of the most affordable brands on the market. When it comes to baby car seats, they can be an investment. While it is important to invest in your baby’s health and safety, you do not always have to break the bank doing it. We looked at infant, convertible, forward-facing, combination, 3-in-1s and booster seats manufactured by Cosco, as rated by the NHTSA.
Keep in mind that the Ease of Use rating is out of five stars and judges the labels, instructions, securing the child and installation features.
- Designed for infants 4-22 pounds and up to 29" in height
- Seat pad is machine washable and dryer safe
- Adjustable stay in car base
This seat is an infant carrier. It is for babies between 4 and 22 pounds and for infants up to 29 inches. It secures with a five-point harness. This baby seat is affordable and for the smallest babies. Its Ease of Use rating was 3 out of 5 stars.
- With two modes of use, this extra-comfortable LATCH-equipped Cosco car seat accommodates infants from 5 pounds up to...
- The five-point harness adjusts easily from the front of the seat and features five heights and three buckle locations
- Built-in side-impact protection keeps your little one extra secure. Designed to be just the right size, the seat takes...
The Cosco MightyFit is a convertible seat. This means that you can alter it from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat as your child grows. The best part of these seats is that you don’t have to purchase a new one right away. It is suitable for babies 4 to 51 pounds. The MightyFit has a 4 out of 5 stars rating.
- 2 car seats in 1: Forward-facing 22-40 pounds with 5 point harness and belt-positioning booster 40-80 pounds
- 5-point harness with up-front adjustment
- 2-position shoulder belt guides for booster mode
The Highback 2-in-1 has two different settings that you can use. On the one hand, you can use it with a five-point harness for younger children, and on the other, it can be used by bigger kids as a belt-positioning booster seat. You can use this seat until your child is 80 pounds. Convenient due to its 2-in-1 features, it has a 3-star rating.
- Dorel Juvenile Group
- Baby Product
The point of a 3-in-1 car seat is that you don’t have to buy a new one as your baby ages. When it comes to kids, they grow fast. Sometimes, you can’t predict just how quickly they grow. A 3-in-1 seat allows you to mark your child's journey from infancy until he or she needs a booster seat. This seat carries up to 80 pounds. It has a 4-star rating.
- BACKLESS BELT-POSITIONING BOOSTER 40-100 POUNDS - The seat is designed to position the vehicle seat belts correctly for...
- EASY TO MOVE AND INSTALL - Great for families who are always on the go, the lightweight design and compact size make it...
- FLIP-DOWN CUP HOLDER - This belt-positioning booster seat is designed with a convenient flip-down cup holder for your...
When it comes to booster seats, these are for children who no longer need to sit in a forward-facing car seat, but still aren’t big enough for the regular seat. This booster seat is capable of holding the heaviest children, at 100 pounds. Booster seats also tend to be easier to install. This one has a 4-star rating.
Always Check Your Ratings
If a car seat has no rating, then it might not adhere to federal guidelines. Cosco seats follow safety guidelines, and the NHTSA ranks them accordingly. When you know what you’re looking for and how to install a car seat properly, you should have a little more peace of mind that your child is going to be safe.
The rules and regulations are in place for your child’s safety! If you want to make sure that your child is as safe as he or she can be, then always follow the instructions.