Apr 20, 2020

Car Seat Safety: Everything You Need to Know

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Car Seat Safety For New Parents

Getting your child safely strapped into their car seat is absolutely vital. There’s a different rule for every age, weight and height, and it can certainly feel overwhelming to a new parent. But don’t sweat it, we’re going to break down car seat safety for you and make it super easy to follow for every age and weight. 


NEWBORNS:

Picking the right car seat for your newborn can be stressful. A great place to start is with the consumer ratings list of safest car seats. Pick a car seat that’s right for your child’s size, right for your car and right for your budget. Once you have your car seat picked out, it’s time to get it installed (we always recommend following the instructions manual for this one). Here’s a helpful checklist for newborn car seat safety:

  • Install the car seat in the backseat, with the car seat being rear facing. 
  • Harness straps should be at or below the babies shoulders
  • Tighten the 5-point harness and make sure your child isn’t wearing any bulky jackets or suits. 
  • Once you have the harness tightened, you shouldn’t be able to pitch the strap. (See video below for more info on this step)
  • Chest clip should be aligned with babies armpits. 

TODDLERS

Once your child reaches 40 lbs + you can get them into a toddler car seat (if you’ve been using an infant car seat until now, or adjust your current one if it’s a ‘3 in 1’ or convertible car seat) and move the car seat to the forward facing position. The AAP used to recommend that children remain rear facing until age 2, but now that recommendation is based on weight, not age. Your child will remain in a 5-point harness forward-facing car seat until they reach 65 lbs. Here is the helpful checklist for toddlers: 

  • Toddlers should remain in a 5-point harness car seat, even if their seat is now forward facing. 
  • Harness straps should be at or below the toddler’s shoulders
  • Once you have the harness tightened, you shouldn’t be able to pitch the strap. (See video below for more info on this step)
  • You know your child is getting too tall for his forward-facing car seat when the top of his ears reach the top of the seat.

BIG KID: 

Once your child is over 65 lbs, you can transition them to a booster car seat. The AAP recommends that when children exceed 65 lbs, they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly. This is often when they have reached at least 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 to 12 years old. Here is the helpful checklist for big kids car seat safety: 

  • Booster seats do not need to be installed. And you don’t need to worry about a tight fit. Your child’s weight on the booster seat holds it in place.
  • Use the booster seat in the back seat.


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