boy in car seat

Car Seat Safety Guide

Everyone knows that small children need to be confined to car seats when riding around. However, car seat safety today is more complicated than it used to be. We hope you’ll use this guide, with information provided by HealthyChildren.org, to make sure your child has the safest seat in the house.

Below is a breakdown of guidelines and seat type based on each age group.

Infants and Toddlers:

Type of Seat – Rear-Facing-Only or Rear-Facing Convertible

Guidelines – “The AAP recommends that all infants ride rear-facing starting with their first ride home from the hospital. All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they are at least 2 years of age or, preferably, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat manufacturer.”

Toddlers and Preschoolers:

Type of Seat – Convertible or Forward-Facing with Harness

Guidelines – “Any child who has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for his 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 his car seat manufacturer. It is best for children to ride in a seat with a harness as long as possible, at least to 4 years of age.”

School-Aged Children:

Type of Seat – Booster Seat

Guidelines – “All children whose weight or height exceeds the forward-facing limit for their car 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.”

Older Children:

Type of Seat – Seat Belt

Guidelines – “When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use lap and shoulder seat belts for the best protection.”