- All children 12 and under should ride in the back seat.
- Read your car seat instruction manual and vehicle owner's manual carefully for proper installation. The seat should be locked tightly against the vehicle seat it should not move more than one inch forward or side to side.
- Like other consumer products, car seats are occasionally recalled. Send in your car seat registration card to be sure you'll be notified. You can also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Auto Safety Hotline, (888) 327-4236, or check this Web site for updated product recall information.
- Replace any car seat that has been involved in a crash.
For more information contact the National SAFE KIDS Campaign at www.safekids.org or call the NHTSA Auto Safety Hotline 1-800-424-9393.
Infants should be in rear-facing car seats until they are both at least 1 year old and at least 20 pounds.
- Infants must ride in the back seat facing the rear of the vehicle. This offers the best protection for your infant's neck.
- Never put an infant in a front seat of a vehicle with a passenger air-bag (unless you have a manual cut off switch AND you have turned it off).
- Route harness straps in lower slots at or below shoulder level.
- Keep harness straps snug and fasten harness clip at armpit level.
- Recline rear-facing seat at a 45-degree angle. A firmly rolled up towel under the car seat may help.
- Put car seat carrying handle down.
Children over 1 year old and between 20 and 40 pounds can be in forward-facing car seats, or in rear-facing convertible seats if the child has not reached the maximum rear-facing weight.
- Route harness straps in upper slots at or above shoulder level.
- Fasten harness clip at armpit level.
- Keep harness straps snug.
- Place car seat in upright position.
Kids ages 4 to 8 (about 40 to 80 pounds) should be in a booster seat and restrained with lap and shoulder belts every time they ride. Adult safety belts alone do not adequately protect children this size from injury in a crash.
- Kids this size are too small to fit correctly in adult safety belts alone.
- A booster seat makes lap and shoulder belts correctly: low over the hips and upper thighs and snug over the shoulders.
- These booster seats must be used with both lap and shoulder belts.
- If your vehicle has a low back seat and your child's ears are above it, you need a high back booster seat to protect their head.
If your child is over 40 pounds and you only have lap belts in your back seat, you may:
- contact an auto dealership about installing a shoulder belt
- correctly restrain your child in a belt-positioning booster in the front seat using a lap/shoulder belt.
Usually, children over 80 pounds and 8 years old can fit correctly in lap/shoulder belts. When the child is sitting all the way back against the vehicle seat, the lap belt should fit across the child's hips, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should cross the center of the shoulder. Do not let your children put shoulder belts under their arms or behind their backs. This could result in serious injuries.
- Never put shoulder belts under kids' arms or behind their backs.
- Lap and shoulder belts should fit low over the hips and upper thighs and snug over the shoulders.
- To fit correctly in a safety belt, kids must be tall enough to sit with knees bent at the edge of the seat without slouching.
page last modified on: 5/7/2013