Less than 7 percent of children in cars are strapped up in a car seat, an article by IOL states.


Just as it is important for an adult to wear a seatbelt at all times, a child must be securely strapped in. Yes, even if you’re only quickly popping out to the shops!


If you’ve been shopping around for one and you’re leaning toward buying the cheapest option, just stop for a second. Here are a few facts to consider before making a final decision:


They won’t last forever

Child seats actually have an expiry date – generally about 6 years after its manufacture date. If you’re thinking of saving your baby’s seat for your baby sister’s baby, think again!There are many factors that can cause a car seat to “expire” prematurely.Environmental factors like exposure to extreme heat in summer and icy cold temperatures in winter can impact the materials from which these seats are manufactured negatively.


Accidents matter

If the car seat has been in an accident, it’s best that you do not buy it. Even if the accident may have been relatively minor, the forces that are brought to bear in a collision can cause hairline cracks or other damage to the seat.


Baby’s height and weight are important

Take note of the instructions on the car seat. Your little one is required to be strapped securely in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least 18kg or 105cm tall –  usually when they are between three and four years old. Make sure you buy a car seat that they’ll be comfortable in and shop around for a new one as soon as they’ve outgrown it.


What they wear matters

Although we’re in winter, try not to dress them in bulky clothing before buckling in. The bulky clothing can, according to Care.com, prevent the car seat straps from sitting tightly against the body and may not protect them effectively should an accident occur. Make sure they’re comfortably dressed and carefully cover them with a blanket if it’s really chilly.


They may be able to unbuckle themselves

Kids are smart and have to be watched closely, particularly in the car. But while you’re driving, it’s difficult to do this because you’re focused on the road. The last thing you want is to have your little one unbuckle his or herself while the car is in motion. As an added precautionary measure, button a shirt over the car seat buckle so that they won’t be able to undo the restraint. And when they’re old enough to understand the risk, speak to them about the importance of being strapped in and how it saves lives.


But, before you even start buckling up, make sure the car you’re driving has car insurance from a reputable insurance company. If it doesn’t, apply for an affordable online insurance quote from MiWay that’s tailored to your needs as well as your pocket.

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