OBGYN, Pregnancy and Childbirth Care
Child Car Seat Safety
Buying a car seat is easy. Installing it properly takes work. But don't let a few clips and latches worry you — these tips can help ensure your child's safety while on the road.
Be safe before it matters.
There's no better time to test your baby's car seat than before birth. Consider visiting a child passenger safety seat inspection location near you by searching the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's database.
Leaving the hospital.
Sharp caregivers are committed to your baby's safety. They're also required to inform you about car seat safety laws before you leave the hospital. But since they're not allowed to help with the placement of the car seat, including installation and placing the baby, make sure it's ready to go for that very first pickup.
Why height or weight is important.
Whether brand-new or a "terrible two," your child's height or weight will dictate how you use your car seat. Children should be kept in rear-facing car seats until they have reached height and weight maximums set by the seat's manufacturer. And while it may be comforting for the young ones, never have your baby swaddled when in the car seat.
Technical tips for a safe trip.
It's vital to familiarize yourself with your car seat's instruction manual, but these tips are a good rule of thumb for general usage:
- The middle of the backseat is the safest position for the car seat
- For infant car seats, be sure the handle is not in the upright position
- In rear-facing car seats, the harness should come through the slot at or below the child's shoulders
- Secure the car seat with either the seat belt or your car's LATCH system, but not both — unless the manual specifically permits it
- The chest clip should be level with the child's armpits
- Tighten the harness snugly so that you can't pinch any slack between your fingers in the harness webbing
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