According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) infants should remain in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the height or weight limit for that seat. Once they outgrow the rear-facing car seat they should be placed in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until they reach the height or weight limit for that seat. Once they outgrow the forward-facing car seat with a harness they can be placed in a booster seat. NHTSA also recommends that all children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat.
There are different types of car seats on the market so it is important to read the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the height and weight limits for each seat. Additionally always make sure that the car seat is properly installed and that the child is properly secured in the seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you have any questions about car seat safety you can contact the NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or visit their website at www.nhtsa.gov.
For how long can an infant be in a car seat?
Up to 2 hours at a time.
Is it harmful to allow an infant to sleep in a car seat?
It is not harmful but it is not recommended for infants to sleep in a car seat for an extended period of time due to the risk of positional asphyxia.
How often should an infant be taken out of the car seat?
Every 2-3 hours to allow for movement and to avoid stiffness.
What is the best way to position an infant in a car seat?
Upright with the head and backrest in line with each other.
What is the safest way to secure an infant in a car seat?
In the rear-facing position with the harness straps snug and at or below the infant’s shoulders.
How long should an infant remain in a rear-facing car seat?
As long as possible at least until the infant reaches the height or weight limit for the car seat.
When can an infant be switched to a forward-facing car seat?
When the infant reaches the height or weight limit for the rear-facing car seat.
How should a forward-facing car seat be positioned?
Upright with the headrest in the correct position for the infant’s height.
What is the weight limit for a forward-facing car seat with a harness?
usually around 40-65 pounds
When can a child switch to a booster seat?
When the child is at least 4 years old 40 pounds and the top harness strap is at or above the child’s shoulders.
How should a booster seat be positioned?
Upright with the lap belt low on the hips and touching the thighs and the shoulder belt crossing the center of the chest.
What is the weight limit for a backless booster seat?
usually around 40-100 pounds depending on the seat
What is the weight limit for a high-back booster seat?
usually around 40-120 pounds depending on the seat
What should a child do while in a booster seat?
Sit with their back against the seat and not lean forward or slouch.
For how long should a child use a booster seat?
Until the child is at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and the seat belt fits properly (usually between 8-12 years old).