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Is your child in the right car seat?

Mother helps her daughter to fasten belt on car seat

Children are extremely vulnerable to injury in a crash if they are not properly fastened in the right car seat. Event if you find the right car seat, it is extremely important to know how to install it correctly. As your child grows older, make sure to transition them into a car seat that fits their size and age.

Below are three common types of car seats

  1. Infant car seats are designed for newborns and small babies up until eight or nine months. These seats are rear-facing only.
  2. Convertible car seats can be either forward facing or rear facing with a harness and tether.
  3. All-in-one car seats can be front or rear facing as well but also transform into a booster seat as your child grows.

Some booster seats have a high back to boost the child’s height and give them neck and head support so the seat belt fits properly. These booster seats are most common if there are no head rests in your car. A backless booster seat is similar but is best used with cars that already have head rests.

To properly secure your child in a seat belt, make sure it lies across their upper thighs and is snug across the shoulder and chest to restrain them in a crash. The seat belt should not rest on the stomach area or across the face or neck. Car seats and booster seats help your child properly fit into the seat so the safety belt rests in the proper place.

For more information on finding the right car seat for your child’s age and size, check out this chart from safecar.gov.