Child Car Seats - Topic Overview
Requirements for car seats continued...
Ages 4 to 7 years
Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat's maker. As soon as your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, your child can travel in a booster seat but still in the back seat.
Ages 8 to 12 years
Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: Your child should still ride in the back seat because it's safer there.
Don't buy a used car seat. If a car seat has been recalled or has been in an accident or misused, it may not fully protect your baby.
The safest position for your baby or child is in the back, middle seat of the car.
- Do not place your child's car seat in the front seat of any vehicle with a passenger side air bag that cannot be turned off.
- Do not allow a child younger than age 13 to sit in the front seat of any vehicle.
- Make sure your infant's car seat is at an angle where his or her head does not flop forward.
- Take extra care if you have a premature infant. Slouching may affect his or her breathing and oxygen supply.
For maximum safety, follow the manufacturer's recommendations for car seat use. Cars manufactured since September 2002 are equipped with a standardized car safety seat attachment system. This feature allows parents to secure the car seat on a permanently installed hook.
Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians can help you install your car seat and position your child safely. To find help in your area, go to www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cps/cpsfitting/index.cfm or www.seatcheck.org. You can also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 1-888-327-4236.
Do not let your child get out of his or her seat while the car is moving. If your child needs attention, stop the car, take the child out of the seat, take care of his or her needs, and put him or her back into the seat before the car starts moving again. If your child is fussy again soon after, stop and check your child again.