Child Safety Seat Guide
4 Steps for Kids
Step 1: Rear-Facing Seats
Start your child in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat. Rear-face until they reach the upper weight and height limits of the seat, even past age 2. If your child outgrows their car seat before age 2, change to a seat with higher rear-facing weight and height limits. Keep rear-facing as long as possible. Leg crowding is expected and does not harm the child.
Step 2: Forward Facing Seats with Harnesses
When your child outgrows the rear-facing seat, use a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether in the back seat. Remember to keep rear-facing as long as possible before turning forward. Use a car seat with a harness and tether until age 5, or until they reach the upper height and weight limits for the harness.
Step 3: Booster Seats
When your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with harness, use a booster seat in the back seat. Use a booster seat until the belt fits correctly A booster seat is often needed until 4fr 9 in (57”) tall. Your child may be 12 years old before ready for an adult safety belt.
Step 4: Seat Belts
Children should ride in an adult seat belt in the back seat once they outgrow a booster seat. Kids are ready for a seat belt when: (1) The shoulder strap crosses the center of the chest and rests on the shoulder (not the neck). (2) The lap belt fits on the upper thighs near hips (not the stomach). (3) Knees can bend when sitting all the way back in the seat, and feet are flat on the floor. Use the back seat for kids under 13.