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Are your children protected in case of a car accident?

One of the most frightening things that can happen to a parent is being involved in a major car accident with children in the car. While you can't control what other drivers do on the road, and you can't 100 percent protect your children at every moment, you can chose a car seat or protection device that is best equipped to protect your child in the event of an accident.

There are dozens of car seat brands and hundreds of models from which to choose, and it can get confusing for parents to decide on which brand is best. Before you decide on a brand, however, you need to understand what type of car seat is appropriate for the age and size of your child.

Infants, for example, should be kept safe in a rear-facing infant carrier car seat or convertible car seat. Most pediatricians recommend that small children stay in rear-facing positions as long as possible. Infant carriers are usually rated for children up to 20 to 25 pounds. Convertible seats in the rear position are usually rated for children up to 30 to 40 pounds, but taller children might not be as comfortable or safe in rear-facing positions as they grow.

Those convertible seats can be turned to forward-facing positions, usually until a child is between 55 to 65 pounds. After that, depending on the age or size of your child, you have a couple of options. You can use a five-point harness booster, which is a booster seat with a back. The seat is held in with the car's seat belt, but the child is usually secured via a harness than goes over the shoulders and the thighs as in a regular car seat.

A basic booster seat is used for older children until they can sit in the car on their own. The booster seat lifts them up a bit so they can use the car's seat belt appropriately.

Understanding appropriate car seat safety is a big step to protecting your child in the car. Even with such steps, however, accidents and injuries can happen. Regardless of your car seat choice, if your child was injured in an accident that occurred because someone else was negligent, you might have a case for compensation.

Source: Dummies.com, "Choosing — and Using — a Car Seat," Joanne Stone, Keith Eddleman, and Mary Duenwald, accessed March 18, 2016

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