Car Safety Seats

Checklist

Take a minute to complete this checklist to ensure your child's safety seat meets the following safety standards.

  • Do you have the car seat's instructions?
  • Does your car have a passenger-side air bag?
  • Is your child facing the right way for his or her weight and age?
  • Is the harness snug? Does it stay on your child's shoulders?
  • Is the automobile's seat belt in the right place and pulled tight?
  • Have you tried the car seat in your vehicle?
  • Has your child grown too tall for the convertible seat? Is your child 40 pounds or more?
  • Has your child's car seat been recalled?
  • Was the car seat ever in a crash?
  • Does the car seat have any visible cracks in the frame of the seat?

Young children should be restrained in appropriate age/size safety seats:

Infants should ride in rear-facing child safety seats until they are at least 20 pounds and 1 year old to reduce the risk of cervical spine injury in the event of a crash. Rear-facing car safety seats must never be placed in the front passenger seat of any vehicle that has a passenger side front airbag.

Before age one, infants who weigh 20 pounds or more should ride rear-facing in a convertible seat or infant seat approved for higher weights.

Integrated child safety seats can be used for children who weigh at least 20 pounds and are at least 1 year old.

A convertible car safety seat should be used as long as the child's ears are below the top of the back of the seat and the shoulders are below the seat strap slots.

A booster seat should be used when the child has outgrown a convertible car safety seat but is too small to fit properly in a vehicle safety belt.

The rear seat is the safest position for children of any age to ride. Whenever possible, an adult should sit next to a baby in the rear seat to observe the child during travel.

Car seat definitions:

Infant Seat
Designed for newborn babies, the infant car seat is small and portable. However, the infant seat must be replaced by a convertible seat when a baby outgrows the seat, usually within the first year of life.

Convertible Seat
Child safety seats that could be used both rear-facing for infants and forward-facing for toddlers.

Rear-Facing Safety Seat
Any child safety seat designed to face the back of the vehicle when properly restrained e.g. infant seats are always rear-facing.

Booster Seats
Designed for children who have outgrown convertible seats.

Integrated Safety Seat
Any child safety seat that is built-in to a vehicle.