Car Seat Safety
One of the most important jobs you have as a parent is keeping your child safe when your child is riding in a vehicle.
Each year, thousands of young children are killed or injured in car crashes. Proper use of car safety seats helps keep children safe. But, because so many different seats are on the market, many parents find this overwhelming. If you are expectant parents, consider working with a certified passenger safety technician (CPST or CPS technician), before your baby is born, to ensure a safe ride home from the hospital.
The type of seat your child needs depends on several things, including your child’s age, size, and developmental needs. Here is more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) about choosing the most appropriate car safety seat for your child.
Types of Car Seats at a Glance
Type of Seat
When children are old enough and large enough for the vehicle seat belt to fit them correctly, they should always use lap and shoulder seat belts for the best protection. All children younger than 13 years should ride in the back seat.
All children whose weight or height exceeds the forward-facing limit for their car safety seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 to 12 years of age. All children younger than 13 years should ride in the back seat.
Toddlers and preschoolers
Forward-facing convertible; Forward-facing with harness
Children who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their convertible seat should use a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat manufacturer. Many seats can accommodate children up to 65 pounds or more.
Infants and toddlers
All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat manufacturer. Most convertible seats have limits that will allow children to ride rear facing for 2 years or more.
Practical tips to keep kids safe in cars