The Basics of Children's Car Seats

Did You Know?

According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children younger than 15 in the United States. Child safety seats, when installed and used correctly, can prevent injuries and save lives. The following guidelines are based on the strictest of state laws and will provide the best protection for your child.

Infants (Birth to 1 year and/or less than 20 pounds):

  • Use a rear-facing, infant-only seat. Seat should be secured to the vehicle by the seat belt or by using the LATCH system.

Infants (Less than 1 year and 20 to 35 pounds):

  • Use a convertible seat facing the rear of the vehicle.
  • Seat should be secured using the LATCH system.
  • Child seat should be reclined at a 45-degree angle.
  • Harness straps should be at or below shoulder level.

Toddlers (1 to 4 years old and at least 20 to 40 pounds):

  • Use a face-forward convertible seat, forward-facing only seat or high back booster/harness.
  • Child should be snug and the harness clip should be at armpit level.

Young Children (4 to at least 8 years old, unless the child is at least 4 feet 9 inches tall):

  • Use a belt-positioning booster or high back belt-positioning booster.
  • Always use the lap and shoulder seat belt.
  • Use the booster in the back seat only.

Safety First

Using a child safety seat correctly is the key to keeping your child safe in case of an accident. If the seat is not installed properly, it may not protect your child in a crash. However, it only takes one minute to check the seat before you start the ignition.

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