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What You Need to Know About Car Seat Safety

by HealthyChildren.org

Each year, thousands of young children are killed or injured in car crashes. Proper use of car seats helps keep children safe. But with so many different seats on the market, many parents find this overwhelming. If you are expectant parents, give yourselves enough time to learn how to properly install the car seat in your car 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. Read on for more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) about choosing the most appropriate car seat for your child.

 

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 seat manufacturer. Most convertible seats have limits that will allow children to ride rear facing for two years or more.

 

Toddlers and preschoolers

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 seat manufacturer. Many seats can accommodate children up to 65 pounds or more.

School-aged children

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 through 12 years of age. All children younger than 13 years should ride in the back seat. ​ ​ ​

 

Older children

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. ​

This information was originally published by ​HealthyChildren.org, a parenting website backed by 67​,000 pediatricians committed to the attainment of optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. To see the story, “Car Seats: Information for Families,” visit www.HealthyChildren.org.


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