When deciding which car seat is right for your child you must know when your child outgrows a car seat.
Children must change car seats as they grow. This also determines how they will be sitting in the car. Here are some rules to follow when picking out a car seat.
Types of Car Seats
There are different types of car seats you should use to protect your child.
Rear-Facing Car Seat
- Use a rear-facing car seat for your child from birth until 3 years of age. However, try to keep your child in a rear-facing seat as long as possible. This is the most safe way for you child to ride in a car.
- Infant-only seats can be used rear-facing
- Convertible and all-in-one car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
- Keep your child in this position until they reach the upper limit of the rear-facing car seat. Once your child outgrows this rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether.
Forward-Facing Car Seat
- Children ages 4-7 should use a Forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat's manufacturer.
- Remember to refer to the vehicle owner's manual for instructions on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or lower anchors and a tether, if available.
- Keep your child in a safety seat for as long as possible. This guarantees maximum safety for your child, as long as your child is within the manufacturer's height and weight requirements.
- Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.
- A child age 8-12 should sit in a booster seat if they are not big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. A seat belt fits properly when the lap belt lies snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest, not crossing the neck or face.
- Your child should still ride in the back seat for increased safety.
Keep your child age 8-12 in the booster seat until the seat belt fits properly. Remember how the seat belt should fit:
- The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.
- The lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach.
- Your child should still sit in the back seat for increased safety.