Your child needs a car seat from the time you walk out of the hospital until they are at least 9 years old. And, by law, most states now require children to ride in booster seats until they weigh at least 60 pounds or more. Car seats, if used correctly, can dramatically reduce the risk of fatality or injury. But over half of car seats are misused in a way that could reduce their effectiveness and 1 in 3 children killed in car crashes are completely unrestrained at the time of the crash.
So what do you choose? Infant, convertible, or booster seat? Finding the right car seat and installing it correctly is no easy task. Then there's the question of when to transition your child to another type of car seat. Following these steps will help you find the right car seat based on car seat type, age and size recommendations, and will show you how to install your car seat the correct way.
There are three basic types of car seats to choose from:
* Rear-Facing Car Seat: It has a harness and, in a crash, cradles and moves with your child to reduce the stress to the child's fragile neck and spinal cord. To maximize safety, keep your child in a car seat rear facing for as long as possible.
* Forward-Facing Car Seat: Has a harness and tether that limits your child's forward movement during a crash. To maximize safety, keep your child in a car seat for as long as the child fits within the manufacturer's height and weight requirements.
* Booster Seat: Positions the seat belt so that it fits properly over the stronger parts of a child's body. Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly.
As a parent, you are your kids' strongest influence when it comes to modeling safe driving practices, including buckling up every time you get in the car. Teach your family that safety is the responsibility of all passengers as well as the driver.
Get this message out to your friends and family!
* Twitter - Many parents do not realize their child is in the wrong car seat. Visit Safercar.gov/TheRightSeat and make sure your child is riding safely. #therightseat.
* Facebook - Storks know how to keep kids safe. Do you? Visit safercar.gov/therightseat to know for sure that your child is in the right seat for their age and size. #STORKS #TheRightSeat