Parents in Indiana should take steps to protect their children during travel. In fact, Indiana requires all children under the age of one and under 20 pounds to use a rear-facing child car seat.
Children must continue to use an age-appropriate car seat up to the age of eight, any of these styles:
- Booster seat
Parents who don’t follow these regulations could be subject to a citation from a police officer. There are many different types of child car seats, and the seats have different features that can help parents make a good choice for their family. Below is a brief overview of the types of child car seats and their various features.
Types of Child Car Seats
There are a few types of child car seats, and which is right for your child depends on his/her age, height, and weight.
These seats have different limitations and features:
- Infant-only car seats: Infant-only car seats are only rear-facing. Small babies must use a rear-facing car seat under Indiana law until the age of one. These seats have weight limitations of up to about 35 pounds, though this may vary. When the child outgrows the seat, the parent must purchase a new seat.
- Convertible car seats: Convertible car seats have both rear- and forward-facing capabilities. The rear-facing limitations are around 35 pounds. Weight limitations for forward-facing seats are between 40-80 lbs.
- Booster seats: Once a child outgrows a forward-facing seat, he/she is ready for a booster seat. These raise the child up enough to be able to use the car’s seat belt so it fits over the waist and across the shoulder as intended.
Most car seats use the LATCH system. LATCH stands for Lower Anchors And Tethers for Children. Cars manufactured after September 2002 must have the equipment in their seats necessary to use the LATCH system. If a parent uses a car made before September 2002, they may need to use seat belts to secure the car seat to the vehicle.
Parents can find this information in their car’s owner’s manual. Parents should also be aware of child/seat weight limits for using the LATCH system. Once the combined weight limit is reached (about 65 pounds according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), parents may use seat belts to secure the seat but may still use the tether strap attached to the top anchor.
Child Car Seat Features and Considerations
Many child car seats are sold as part of a comprehensive travel system. The car seat detaches from its base in the car and can be attached to a stroller or carried by hand.
Child car seats can have other convenient features like:
- Cup holders
- Machine washable covers
- Extra padding
Parents should check the car seat against the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Babies and Kids section. Parents shouldn’t buy a car seat subject to a recall. The NHTSA also maintains a database of recalled car seats.
While parents should do everything they can to avoid defective products, if a malfunctioning child car seat causes harm, parents have a right to bring a lawsuit against the child car seat manufacturer. Hensley Legal Group is committed to helping Indiana parents protect their children through legal action. Contact our office to discuss your case.