Safety Tips

Ten Tips to Keep Your Child Safe*

1. Safety experts recommend that children ride rearward-facing in the vehicle until they are two years old or until they reach either the height or weight limit of their rear facing child safety seat.

2. Infant carriers are only used rearward-facing in the vehicle. Convertible child seats can be used either rearward-facing or forward-facing in the vehicle. Convertible child seats often have a higher weight limit in the rearward-facing direction than infant carriers do, so they can be used rearward-facing by children who have outgrown their infant carrier but are still less than at least two years old. Children should remain rearward-facing until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their convertible child seat.

3. Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of a passenger air bag.

4. Children who are two years old or who have outgrown their rear-facing convertible child seat can ride forward-facing in the vehicle. Forward-facing child seats and convertible child seats used in the forward-facing direction are for children who are over two years old or who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit of their rear-facing convertible child seat. Children should remain in a forward-facing child seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by the child seat.

5. All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for the child seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s seat belts fit properly. If the child cannot sit with knees bent over the vehicle's seat cushion while the child's back is against the seatback, they should use a belt-positioning booster seat.

6. After outgrowing a booster seat, children under age 13 should always use a seat belt and ride in the back seat. Remember, kids of all ages are safest when properly restrained in the back seat.

7. Old/used child safety seats should not be used unless you are certain they have never been in a crash and you have all the parts (including instructions). Seats that are 6 years old or older should be discarded and never used. Click here to check if your child safety seat has been recalled.

8. Always read both the vehicle owner's manual and the instructions that come with the child safety seat.

9. It is important to remember that the "best" child safety seat is the one that correctly fits the child, the vehicle, and is used correctly every time.

10. Get your child's safety seat checked!

What should parents expect when they get their child's safety seat inspected?

Certified technicians will conduct the child safety seat inspection. The certified technician will:

  • Check the child safety seat to see that it has been properly installed;
  • Remove and inspect the child safety seat for damage;
  • Diagnose problems;
  • Ensure the child safety seat is not a recalled model;
  • Get information about children riders from the vehicle owner (size and weight of child, etc.);
  • Ensure the child safety seat is appropriate for the size and age of the child;
  • Teach the vehicle owner the correct procedure to properly and safely install the child safety seat in his vehicle;
  • Show the parent or caregiver how to secure the child in the child safety seat; and
  • Discuss other vehicles and child safety seats they own, and provide instructions to repeat the correct procedure with other seats or when installing the seat in other cars.

What are the most common child safety seat installation mistakes?*

  • Not using the right child safety seats for a child's size and age;
  • Not placing the child safety seat in the correct direction;
  • Incorrect installation of the child safety seat in relation to the vehicle's air bags;
  • Incorrect installation and tightness of the child safety seat to the vehicle seat;
  • Not securing/tightening the child safety seat's harness and crotch straps;
  • Improper use of locking clips for certain vehicle safety belts;
  • Not making sure the vehicle's seat belts fit properly across the child when using a booster seat; and  
  • Using a defective or broken child safety seat.


*Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)



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