Guide to car seat safety
Car seat safety laws have saved the lives of thousands of children, and it's your responsibility to know what type of seat your child needs. Children of different sizes and ages need specific safety products, according to car seat laws. While exact specifications may vary slightly from place to place, there are several universal car seat safety principles every parent should know.
General Car Seat Safety Information
Infant car seats for children under one year of age must be rear-facing. In most places, rear-facing car seat laws remain applicable until your child weighs more than 20 pounds, regardless of their age. You can switch to a forward-facing baby car seat only once your child passes their first birthday and weighs more than 20 pounds.
While it is recommended that you use a harness as long as possible, you may switch your child to a belt-positioning booster car seat when he or she reaches four years of age and weighs a minimum of 40 pounds. Regular car seat-belts should not be used until your child reaches a height of at least 4 feet, 6 inches.
Much like a crib, your car can be a very dangerous place if it's not properly baby-proofed. Never place a child seat in front of an airbag, and never leave potential projectiles lying around. Children who are not old enough or big enough to wear a regular seat belt should sit in the back seat of the car, and you should always make sure that your child meets minimum age, weight and height requirements before moving them up to the next level.
To keep your baby warm and snug, consider adding an infant car seat cover. A car seat cover is usually made of soft, cozy fabric that can be zipped on right over the car seat. The best baby car seat covers are easily zipped on and off, are made from machine-washable fabrics and provide soothing warmth during the winter.
Popular Child Car Seat Brands
While there are many reputable and well-made car seats on the market, some of the most popular brands include Britax car seats, Graco car seats and Evenflo car seats. These companies make car seats as well as strollers and other infant mobility and safety products that are consistently well-reviewed by parents and industry insiders.