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How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes

Rear and Forward-Facing Car Seats

Rear-Facing Car Seats

Forward-Facing Car Seats

Booster Seats: How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes

Seat Belts: How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes

Infographics

Buckle Kids Right: Know the Stages

  1. Rear-facing: Birth until 2-4. As long as possible, until they reach the maximum weight and/or height limit of their rear-facing car seat.
  2. Forward-facing: After outgrowing rear-facing seat until at least age 5. That is until they reach the maximum weight or height limit of their forward-facing car seat.
  3. Booster Seats: After outgrowing forward-facing seat and until seat belts fit properly.
  4. Seat Belts: When they fit properly and throughout life.

Proper seat belt fit usually occurs around 4 feet 9 inches tall and age 9-12. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck).

Always properly buckle children aged 12 and under in the back seat!

Is your child's car seat properly installed?

Use LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) to install the car seat. Check your car seat owner’s manual and vehicle owner’s manual for LATCH weight limits. OR Use the vehicle’s seat belt by placing it through back and/or bottom of child safety seat as indicated on the seat/user’s manual. Make sure seat belt is buckled and locked.

Regardless of whether you use LATCH or the vehicle’s seat belt to install, ALWAYS ensure the top tether is tightly secured for forward-facing seats. Many rear-facing car seats should not touch the front seat. Check to see if your car seat has the 1″ rule.

The car seat should not be able to move more than 1 inch from side-to-side or front-to-back. Check the installation guides in the car seat owner’s manual and vehicle owner’s manual.

Never place a rear-facing car seat in front of an active airbag. Always properly buckle children aged 12 and under in the back seat!

Using the correct car seat or booster seat can be a lifesaver

Using the correct car seat or booster can be a lifesaver: make sure your child is always buckled in an age- and size-appropriate car seat or booster seat.

  • Rear-facing car seat: Birth until age 2-4. Buckle children in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the maximum weight or height limit of their car seat. Keep children in rear-facing as long as possible.
  • Forward-facing car seat: After outgrowing rear-facing car seat until at least age 5. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats, they should be buckled in a forward-facing car seat until they reach the upper weight or height limit of their seat.
  • Booster seat: After outgrowing forward-facing seat and until seat belts fit properly. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seat, they should be buckled in a belt positioning booster seat until seat belts fit properly. Proper seat belt fit usually occurs when children are about 4 feet 9 inches tall and age 9-12 years.
  • Seat Belt: Once seat belts fit properly without a booster seat. Children no longer need to use a booster seat once seat belts fit them properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck).

Keep children ages 12 and under in the back seat. Never place a car seat in front of an active air bag.

*Recommended age ranges for each seat type vary to account for differences in child growth and height/weight limits of car seats and booster seats. Use the car seat or booster seat owner’s manual to check installation and the seat height/weight limits, and proper seat use.

Child safety seat recommendations: American Academy of Pediatrics.

Graphic design: adapted from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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