One of the most important jobs you have as a parent is keeping your child safe when riding in a vehicle. Each year thousands of young children are killed or injured in car crashes. Proper use of car safety seats helps keep children safe. But with so many different car safety seats on the market, it’s no wonder many parents find this overwhelming.
The types of seat your child needs depends on several things, including your child’s age and size and the type of vehicle you have. Read on for more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) about choosing the most appropriate car seat for your child.
Types of Car Seats at a Glance
Note: This chart is a quick guide on where to start your search. It’s important to continue your research to learn about each car seat you use and each stage that your child grows into.
Type of Seat
Rear-facing only & rear facing convertible seats
All infants & toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least 2 years of age or they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer.
Convertible seats & forward facing seats with harness
Any child who has outgrown the rear-facing weight and height limit for his convertible car seat should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to highest weight or height allowed by car seat manufacturer.
All children whose weight or height is above the forward facing limit for their car seat should use a Belt-Positioning Booster Seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 ft 9 in in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
When children are old enough & large enough for the vehicle seat belt to fit them correctly, they should always use Lap and Shoulder Seat belts for optimal protection.