Some state laws require that all children must be safely buckled into an approved child car or booster seat until they reach the age of 8 or a weight of 80 pounds. The car seat must be used exactly as the car-seat maker instructs, or your child may not be safe. Here are a few tips to ensure your child's car-seat safety.
Check the seat:
- The middle of the back seat is the safest place for a car seat.
- Never place a rear-facing car seat in a position with an active airbag.
- Secure the car seat tightly, allowing as little movement as possible at the base of the car seat.
Check the child:
- The harness straps must go over the child's shoulders and lie flat against the child's chest.
- The harness clip should lie flat at armpit level.
- Allow no more than one finger to fit between the harness strap and the child's shoulders.
Check the age/weight guidelines:
- Up to 1 year and 20 pounds: Use a rear-facing seat.
- At least 1 year old and up to 40 pounds: Use a forward-facing seat.
- More than 40 pounds: Use a booster seat. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that booster seats, used in conjunction with lap/shoulder belts, be used until the child is 8 years old unless the child is 4'9".)