Do You Know How to Use a Child’s Car Safety Seat?

Whether or not you have kids, at some point you may need to use a child safety seat when transporting children. Everyone should know how to properly install and use one.


It’s a fact that safety seats can save lives.


Taking steps to make sure that a child is properly restrained in vehicles can help prevent him or her from being one of the thousands of children who die or are injured each year in traffic accidents.


Four for safety


Practice these key safety seat recommendations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):


1. Infants should be secured in the back seat in rear-facing child safety seats. They should travel that way until they reach the height or weight limit of the particular seat—at a minimum, until they’re 1 year old.


2. Toddlers should ride in the back seat in forward-facing child safety seats when they outgrow rear-facing seats. They should use these seats until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the seat (usually at about 4 years old).


3. Children who outgrow forward-facing seats should ride in booster seats in the back seat. Kids should use boosters until the vehicle seat belt fits properly—the lap belt lies across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (usually between 8 and 12 years old).


4. Tweens who have outgrown their booster seats can sit in the back seat and use adult seat belts if these fit properly. Remember: All children younger than 12 should ride in the back seat.


Be sure: Get checked


According to the NHTSA, 3 out of 4 kids are not as safe as they could be because their car seats are not being used correctly.


Have your child’s safety seat inspected. Visit to find the child safety seat inspection station nearest you. Or call your local hospital to find out when certified technicians are available to provide free safety seat inspections. And, read your car’s instruction manual on where the child safety seat latches are located, and how to correctly place the seat.




National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Coffey Communications, Inc.




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Stacy Madden