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What Type of Child Car Safety Seat Should You Be Using?

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Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and serious injury for children over one years of age, and every day an unrestrained child under the age of five is killed in a traffic crash in the United States.

The safest place for a child in a car is in a rear seat, properly buckled into a child safety seat, or a booster seat – but what type of Child Car Safety Seat should you be using?

If your child is:

  • Under a Year old and less than 20 pounds, use a rear-facing infant car seat. A rear-facing infant car seat should never be placed in the front seat of a car with an airbag. The infant child seat should sit at a 45-degree angle or the angle specified on the seat. This helps keep the baby’s head from drooping forward and cutting off the airway.
  • Under a Year old and less than 30 pounds, use a rear-facing convertible car seat. A rear-facing convertible car seat should never be placed in the front seat of a car with an airbag. The convertible child seat should sit at a 45-degree angle or the angle specified on the seat. This helps keep the baby’s head from drooping forward and cutting off the airway.
  • Use a convertible car seat if the child is at least one year old and 20 to 40 pounds. You may turn the seat to face forward.
  • At least one year old and 30 to 40 pounds, use a booster seat with a harness.
  • Over 40 pounds and less than 4’9”, your child should use a booster seat but remove the harness straps. The booster seat must be used with a lap/shoulder seat belt until the child is about 4’9”.
  • Over 4’9” tall, your child must use a lap/shoulder seat belt. Children younger than 13 years old should never ride in the front seat of vehicles with active passenger airbags.
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