3 Tips on Choosing a Safe Car Seat – Special Needs Edition
Max outgrew his big brother BJ’s (my angel in heaven) Baby Trend travel system car seat about a little over a month ago. We knew his birthday was around the corner and decided to wait until after his party before purchasing a new convertible car seat. I started to research other special needs blogs, special needs and epilepsy forums, parenting sites, and the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standards on car seats for children with special needs. I wasn’t sure if we could use a conventional car seat or if he needed something “special” According to Prevent Injury dot org.
Conventional child passenger safety restraints are appropriate for many children with special health care needs. Conventional restraints are defined as those restraints that meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. Conventional restraints can be purchased at retail stores and are not specifically designed for children with special health care needs. Examples include rear-facing only, convertible, combination forward-facing/booster seats, and belt-positioning boosters. Seats with harnesses to higher rear and forward facing weight limits have increased the number of conventional restraint options available for children with special health care needs.
Below are my 3 Tips on Choosing a Safe Car Seat for your Super, Mighty, and Blessed Special Needs child!
Choose a seat with head and neck support and a five point harness.
Max has low tone with poor head and neck control and needs a car seat that will support his upper body. Choosing a car seat with head rests with proper padding would help support him as he continues to grow. Also, having a five point harness ensures that your child will stay secured in the seat as they grow with any behavioral, developmental, or motor control issues.
Don’t let this be your child!
Look for a seat with allow rear facing for up to 40lbs and 40.”
The goal is to rear face your child as long as possible. According to current safety recommendations, children are best protected in a crash if they are seated facing the rear of the vehicle until they are about two years of age or have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height maximums for the restraint. The reason I want to rear face Max is because those seats come with the head support for children that have development delays, poor tone, or any other issues that result in them not sitting up properly.
Look for a Semi-recline option when moved to a forward-facing position.
When your child out grows the weight and height restrictions of being rear faced choose a seat with a semi-reclined option when moved to a forward-facing position. Children with poor upper body control, low tone, or poor head and neck control, will benefit from a seat that reclines slightly as it will help position them better when its forward-facing.
These tips are good for any children, but especially good to follow for those with special needs. Using these tips we narrowed down our choices from the Chicco Nextfit, Evenflo Symphony, and purchased the Graco Size4Me 64 Convertible Car Seat, retails for $179.99. You can find this car seat in our Amazon Store.
The Graco Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat holds a rear-facing infant from 4-40 lbs. and forward-facing child in its 5-point harness from 20-65 lbs. It easily grows with your child with the Simply Safe AdjustTM harness system, which automatically adjust both your harness and head rest height.
This car seat also offers our exclusive InRightTM LATCH system for one-second LATCH attachment. Size4MeTM 65 features EPS foam, a removable head/body support, three recline and two buckle positions to keep your child snug and secure. This seat is Safe Seat Engineered which includes Side Impact Testing. Seat cushion is removable for machine washing.
The best part of this post is Babies-R-Us is running a special* from September 1 – 30, if you already own a gently used car seat or travel system you can trade it in at Babies-R-Us and they will give you 25% off a new car seat or travel system. How cool is that? We were able to turn in our seat and base and purchase two convertible seats with one being 25% off. Also, they are running a special if you have a Babies-R-Us credit card you will receive an additional 5% off making it 30% off a new car seat. If you don’t own a Babies-R-Us credit card if you are approved you will receive an additional 15% off making it 45% off the car seat. Of course there are some limitations and you can find out more details on Babies-R-Us.
Max is enjoying his new car seat and I’m happy he is safe and secure.
Keep the Faith!
*This isn’t sponsored. I just thought it was a good deal that I wanted to share.