- Infant. Birth-12 months. 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 have a higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position. The rules used to be rear-facing until one year. We now know that it is safer for the toddler to be rear facing until nearer to age 2.
- Toddler. Ages 1-3. Face backwards until age 2, if their length permits. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, they can use a forward-facing car seat with a harness. This toddler seat should be used through age 3.
- Children 4-7 years. All children ages 4, 5, 6, and 7 are required to ride in a car seat or booster seat unless the child weighs more than 80 pounds or the child is taller than 4 feet 9 inches or only a lap belt is available. Still keep your child in the back seat. (Did you know that booster seats decrease injury by 59% compared to those only using seat belts?!)
- Children ages 8 and up. Keep your child in a booster seat until the child is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. The lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs—not the belly. The shoulder belt should be snug across the shoulder and chest—not across the neck or face.
And, stay in the back seat until age 13—as the air bag could deploy and harm your child.
Children imitate adults. Buckle yourself and your child.