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Child Safety Seats

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is a child safety seat?

A child safety seat is a padded seat that secures infants and children while they ride in a car. Every child safety seat has age, height, and weight ranges. Keep using the safety seat until your child reaches the maximum of the range. Then he or she is ready for the child safety seat that is the next size up. Continue to follow this pattern until your child can use a seatbelt safely.

Why are child safety seats important?

Child safety seats are made to protect your child against an injury in an accident. Injuries from car accidents are a leading cause of death in children. Injuries and death can often be prevented if a child is secured in the appropriate safety seat. Always set a good example for your children by wearing your own seatbelt.

What do I need to know about child safety seats?

You will need to move the child safety seat to any other car your child will be riding in. Follow the instructions for installing and using your specific child safety seat. Directions for one type may not work for another type.

How will I know my child safety seat is properly secured?

The best spot to place your child safety seat is in the middle of the back seat. The safety seat should not move more than 1 inch in any direction after you secure it. If the safety seat is not installed tightly, your child may be injured by the movement in an accident. Always follow the instructions provided to help you position the safety seat. The instructions will also guide you on how to secure your child properly.

When should I use a rear-facing child safety seat?

Rear-facing child safety seats should be used from birth until 2 to 4 years of age. This will depend on your child's height and weight.

When should I use a forward-facing child safety seat?

Forward-facing child safety seats should be used until at least 5 years of age.

When should I use a booster child safety seat?

How will I know if a seatbelt fits my child properly?

Is it safe for my child to ride in the front seat?

Children younger than 13 years should always ride in the back seat. Never let a child younger than 13 years or still in a safety seat ride in the front seat of a car that has a passenger side airbag. The force of an airbag can cause serious or deadly injury to your child. This is especially important for infants in a rear-facing safety seat. Ask for more information about airbag injuries and how to prevent them.

What kind of child safety seat should I use for a child with special needs?

Children with physical or developmental problems may need specially made child safety seats. For information about how to secure your special needs child safely, contact the following:

Further information

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan how your child's safety and care. Learn everything you can about child safety seats and how to use them properly. Work with your child's healthcare provider to understand how your child can stay safe while he or she rides in a car.The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.