Using a safety seat correctly makes a big difference. A child safety seat may not protect your child in a crash if it isn't used correctly and installed in the vehicle properly.
Cars were made for adults, therefore children do not fit in a seatbelt properly until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall.
Rear facing car seat
You can use an infant or convertible seat as long as the seat fits your child’s weight and height and fits in your vehicle. Children should ride rear facing in their car seat to the upper weight limit of the seat. A rear-facing car seat absorbs the force of a car crash, so do not turn the seat around before they meet the weight limit. They should not be turned around before the child is 1 year old and weighs 20 pounds.
Children should ride rear facing until they are 1 year old or weigh 20 pounds. It is recommended they ride rear facing until they are 2 years old or outgrow the weight limit on their seat. Harness seat weight limits vary depending on the seat. Common weight limits are 40, 65, and 80 pounds. Harness straps should be at or above the child's shoulders.
Children should stay in a full harness until they have outgrown it. All harnesses fit children up to 40 pounds and most are now increasing that to 65 pounds or higher. The longer your child is in a full harness the safer they are. When children outgrow their car seat they should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat in the back seat. The booster seat uses the adult lap and shoulder belt and should be used until the belt fits the child properly or until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall.
Sign up for a car-safety seat class. English and Spanish classes available. Visit our calendar of events to find a class near you!