Tipos de asientos de seguridad para niños

There are a variety of child safety seats to meet a growing child's need. Although styles, models, accessories and price can vary, all child safety seats must meet the same safety standard. It's important that your child rides in a child safety seat that is appropriate for his or her size and age and can be installed correctly in your vehicle. You should always read the child safety seat and vehicle owner's manual for detailed instructions on how to use and install your car seat.

Basic information about the different categories of child safety seats is provided below.

Rear-Facing Child Safety Seats

Rear-facing supports a young child's body better and distributes crash forces over the entire body, thereby reducing the risk of head and neck injuries.

There are a few different types of child safety seats that are designed to be used rear-facing: rear-facing only, convertible, and all-in-one seats.

According to best practice recommendations, children should ride rear-facing as long as possible, until they reach the top weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer (the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends rear-facing until a child is 2 years old or until they reach the top weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer).

Rear-facing only
Rear-facing only seat from NHTSA Image Library
Rear-facing only child safety seats (formerly called infant-only seats) are designed for infants who weigh 4-5 pounds up to 22 or 30-35 pounds, depending on the model. They are smaller and typically have a carrying handle and detachable base from which the car seat can be removed. The detachable base allows parents to leave the base installed while taking the baby in and out of the car in the child safety seat. Although this feature can be convenient, families should only use a car seat for travel and never as a substitute for a crib or chair.

Infants are positioned inside the seat by means of a five-point harness. Many models offer head support systems that help center the baby's head and prevent it from falling side to side.

Rear-facing only seats are installed semi-reclined and can only face the rear of the vehicle. Many models have features to help you install the seat according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Convertible Rear-Facing

Convertible seats can be "converted" from a rear-facing seat to a foward-facing child safety seat, when your child is older. They tend to be bigger than rear-facing only seats and don't have carrying handles or detachable bases. Many families move their growing infants from rear-facing infant only seats to convertible seats in the rear-facing mode.

Some can be used rear-facing to weights as high as 40-50 pounds, which makes them a good option for bigger infants and toddlers.

When using a convertible seat in the rear-facing mode, make sure you have made all the changes necessary to use it rear-facing. Typically, the harness will need to be moved so it is at or below your baby's shoulders; it will have to be adjusted so it is semi-reclined; and the seat belt or lower anchors will need to be routed through the designated rear-facing belt path.

Infants or toddlers are positioned inside the seat by means of a five-point harness. Many have
positioning inserts for rear-facing use.

All-in-One Rear-Facing

All-in-one seats can be used three ways: rear-facing, forward-facing, or as a booster with the harness removed (some are even called 3-in-one seats). When used rear-facing, they are very similar to a convertible seat in the rear-facing mode (see above).


Forward-Facing Child Safety Seats with Harnesses

Once a child has outgrown his or her rear-facing child safety seat, it is time to move to a forward-facing seat. There are three types of forward-facing child safety seats: convertible, all-in-one or 3-in-one, and combination seats. According to best practice, children should stay in a forward-facing seat with a harness until they reach the highest weight or height limits of the seat. Since many forward-facing seats have harnesses that can be used up to 65-80 pounds, most children should be able to ride in a forward-facing seat longer.

Convertible Forward-Facing

Convertible seats are "converted" from rear-facing to forward-facing seats by making a few changes to the seat. Typically, the harness straps are moved so that they are at or above your child's shoulders; the child safety seat is changed from a semi-upright to upright position; and the forward-facing seat belt path or lower anchor belt path is used to install the seat.

All-in-One Forward-Facing

All-in-one seats can be used three ways: rear-facing, forward-facing, or as a booster with the harness removed (some are even called 3-in-one seats). When used forward-facing, they are similar to convertible seats (see above).



Combination

Combination seats "combine" features of a forward-facing seat with a harness with that of a booster seat. By removing the harness, the combination seat can be used as a booster seat. They can only be used forward-facing.

A child should stay in the harness until they reach the highest height or weight allowed by the manufacturer. The combination seat will have a designated seat belt or lower anchor belt path for installation.


Booster Seats

Booster seats help a vehicle seat belt fit properly on a child who has outgrown a forward-facing seat with a harness but is too small to fit adequately in a seat belt. Boosters will typically fit children who weigh up to 80-100 pounds. Booster seats lift a child up so that the vehicle seat belt fits properly, low across the upper thighs and across the middle of the shoulder and chest. Without a booster seat, the seat belt can ride up a child's stomach or across the neck. This can cause injuries to the stomach or spine in a crash. According to the AAP, children are usually not big enough to use a vehicle seat belt alone until they are about 4 feet nine inches tall and between 8 and 10 years of age.

There are two different types of booster seats: highback boosters and backless boosters. All-in-one or 3-in-one car seats can be changed into booster seats by removing the harness straps. All boosters should use a lap/shoulder vehicle seat belt to restrain a child, not just a lap belt.

Although boosters are not installed like child safety seats, some manufacturers may allow attachment to the vehicle seat with lower anchors and/or top tether to keep the booster in place.

Highback

These boosters have a back that provides a child with head and neck support. Some have adjustable head rests and a shoulder belt adjuster built into the head rest. They are useful in vehicles that have low seat backs. On some models of high back boosters, the back can be removed so that it becomes a backless booster.

Backless

These boosters do not have backs. They should only be used in vehicles that have adequate head support behind the child.

Combination as Booster

By removing the harness, the seat can be used as a booster. Make sure to read the manufacturer's instructions on how to change the seat into a booster. These seats usually have an adjustable head rest that can be moved as the child grows and a shoulder belt adjuster built into the head rest.

All-in-One or 3-in-One as Booster

By removing the harness, the seat can be used as a booster. Make sure to read the manufacturer's instructions on how to change the seat into a booster. These seats usually have an adjustable head rest that can be moved as the child grows and a shoulder belt adjuster built into the head rest.


The AAP has developed a product listing of child safety seats and boosters. The list is organized by child restraint type and includes the manufacturer's name, weight and height requirements, and approximate price. To access this list, click on: www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Product-Listing.aspx.