FAQ – Child Safety Seats

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Below you will find answers to commonly asked questions about Child Safety Seats.

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Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children in the US. Buckling up is the best way to save lives and reduce injuries.

Parents and caregivers can keep children safe by:

  • Knowing how to use car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.
  • Using them on every trip, no matter how short.
  • Setting a good example by always using a seat belt themselves.

A child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing.

Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.

Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer.

Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.

Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer.

Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.

Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.

Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat because it’s safer there.

To listen to three great discussions on child safety seats, check out the Traffic Safety Guy's interview with Kate Carr, CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, Jennifer Huebner-Davidson, Manager of Traffic Safety for AAA and Deborah Hersman, former NTSB Chairman on the Highway to Safety Podcast.

For Kate Carr's discussion, click here: Highway to Safety - Episode 5

For Jennifer Huebner-Davidson's discussion, click here: Highway to Safety - Episode 15

For Deborah Hersman's discussion, click here: Highway to Safety - Episode 22

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