The Right Car Seat for Your Little Passenger

Just in time for Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept. 13-19), check out the following guidelines from OC Keep Kids Safe, an injury prevention program of the CHOC Community EducationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics, to make sure you are choosing the right car seat for your child.

Rear Facing Infant and Convertible Seats

  • Never in front of an airbag
  • Rear facing to upper weight or height limit
  • Harness snug at or below shoulders
  • Chest clip at armpit level
  • Attach to car with seat belt or lower anchors
  • Add nothing to or behind harness
  • Rear facing 5 times safer between ages 1 and 2 years

Forward Facing Seats

  • Up to 40-65 or 80 pounds
  • Lower anchors to 40-48 pounds
  • Harness snug at or above shoulders
  • Chest clip at armpit level
  • Attach to car with top tether strap and seat belt or lower anchors
  • Use a 5-point harness to upper weight or height limit of seat

Booster Seats

  • Until 4’ 9” and 8 -12 years
  • Always use lap/shoulder seat belt
  • Never put shoulder belt behind back or under arm
  • Use highback booster for vehicle seat without headrest

Adult-Size Seat Belts

  • Back straight against vehicle seat, and knees bent at seat edge
  • Shoulder belt across chest, not neck or throat
  • Lap belt low and snug across upper thighs, not stomach
  • Children younger than 13 should always ride in the back seat

As a reminder, rear facing is always safer and be sure to always read your car seat and vehicle manuals for specific directions.

For a downloadable pdf, click here.

Visit CHOC’s community education page for more on child passenger safety.

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