HealthWatch-The importance of car seats

If you're a parent, it's one of the most important safety features you can possibly own: a car seat. Dr. Cara Hamilton explains the value of strapping in the proper car seat.
"Car seats are important for most of childhood and it is important that your child is in the right car seat for their age and size and that it's not expired. Most infant car seats can be installed in the car with the latch system, a system with metal hooks that are installed in the car and can easily hook to most infant car seats. One of the options for infants has a detachable base where you can easily take out that car seat for that infant if they fall asleep in the car. Typically those have an upper weight limit and height limit, usually around 30 or 40 pounds, about 30 inches, but make sure you're look at your manufacturer's information. Another option for infants is a convertible car seat that's installed rear facing. it has that five-point harness again and is the safest place for that child. That's going to be a good option until they're two or three years old. When they do meet those height and weight requirements for that car seat to flip around, you can install that same car seat forward facing. They still have the five-point harness and this is the safest place for them to be for five to seven years. Once they reach the height and weight limits for that car seat you can graduate them into a booster seat. The booster seat uses the car seatbelts but rises the child up a little higher so the shoulder belt fits best. And a highback booster assures that even more that that shoulder belt is in the right position. They should remain in a highback booster or a booster until they're ten or twelve years of age. And remember, they shouldn't be in the front seat until they're close to 13 years of age. And that's because of injuries due to airbags. And remember if you have questions about car seats, make sure to talk to your child's pediatrician. This is Dr. Cara Hamilton with Black Hills Pediatrics with your HealthWatch."