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Child Safety Car Seats 

All U.S. states currently require all children under 4 years of age to be in a car-safety seat when riding in a car.  In many states, the upper age limit is even higher so make sure you know the law in any state in which you will be driving.  Consumers Union recommends that older children under 57 inches tall should be in a booster seat.

It is imperative that the car seat be the right size for you child, that it is properly installed, and used whenever your child is in the car.  Children under 12 are safest in the back seat and completely away from Air bags.  A rear facing car seat should never be placed in the front seat if there are air bags in the car.

There are several types of car safety seats.  Each is designed for different ages and weights.  It is important to know the purposes of each kind of car seat, and to make sure you are properly using the correct kind.  The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued guidelines for use of car seats.

Rear Facing Car Seats

It is recommended that you use a rear facing car seat until your child reaches the upper weight limits for the particular seat you are using.  Consult the instructions that came with your seat to determine what that weight is for your seat.

There are actually two kinds of rear facing car seats.  An infant only seat is for infants up to 20-22 pounds.  Convertible rear facing seats are larger, and they can be converted to forward-facing seats for older children.

Forward Facing Car Seats

After your child reaches the upper limits for their rear facing seat, you will use a forward facing seat.  This can be either a convertible rear facing seat, or a seat that is manufactured to be only a forward facing car seat.   Another possibility is a seat that converts from a forward facing seat to a booster seat.  Some cars are equipped with forward facing or booster seats.  

Be sure to the check the manufacturer's instructions for the proper use of your seat.

Booster Car Seats 

Booster seats are available generally for children over 40 pounds.  These seats are intended to raise a child so the car lap and shoulder seat belts fit properly.  

It is important to make sure you thoroughly understand the manufacturer's instruction for using the particular seat you are using.

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