Children's Safety Matters

Don’t take chances where your little ones are concerned.
Madisun VanGundy

When it comes to car seat safety, even minor mistakes can put children at risk without parents realizing it. To help ensure your child or grandchild is safe while riding in a vehicle, it’s important to follow state laws and best practices regarding child car seat safety.

Use the Appropriate Safety Seat

Rear-facing Child Seats

Rear-facing seats should be used from birth until age 2, or until your child reaches the upper weight limit of his or her rear-facing convertible seat, which will be around 35 pounds.

Forward-Facing Car Seats

Forward-facing seats should be used once your child reaches the upper weight or height limit of his or her rear-facing convertible seat. It’s safest to keep children in forward-facing seats with a harness until they reach the maximum weight limit (40 to 65 pounds) or height restriction of the seat.

Belt-Positioning Booster Seats

Once a child outgrows the upper weight or height limit of his or her forward-facing harness, switch to a belt-positioning booster seat. Children should use belt-positioning booster seats until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and between 8 and 12 years of age.

Lap and shoulder seat belts

Lap and shoulder belts should be used once the belt fits properly. All children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat.

Install the Car Seat Correctly

Proper installation of a car seat provides children with the best protection in a crash. Always consult an expert to ensure car seats are secured in the safest manner possible.

“While strides have been made to make car seats easier to use, the overwhelming majority of car seats are still not installed properly,” said Jennifer Huebner-Davidson, manager, Traffic Safety Advocacy.

For information on proper car seat installation, call (866) 732-8243 or visit

Top Car Seat Mistakes

  1. Moving your child out of a booster seat too soon
  2. Not installing the car seat tightly enough
  3. Leaving the harness straps too loose
  4. Adjusting the retainer clip (or chest clip) too low
  5. Turning your child forward-facing too soon
  6. Allowing a child younger than 13 to ride in the front seat
  7. Forgetting to attach the top tether
  8. Adding additional padding, toys or mirrors to your child’s car seat
  9. Installing a car seat using LATCH in the center rear seat of a vehicle (when not permitted by the manufacturer)
  10. Transporting unsecured heavy items, including pets, in the vehicle
  11. Installing a car seat using both LATCH and a seat belt
  12. Wearing bulky coats/sweaters while buckled into a car seat

For more information on common car seat mistakes, visit

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