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Car Seat Safety Guidelines

Protect the little passengers in your care.child's car seat

Crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14, yet three-quarters of all parents may be improperly using child restraint devices within their vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

To help keep your young passengers safe, the organization offers the following general recommendations.

  • Select a car seat based on your child's age, height and weight.
  • Keep your child in a car seat for as long as possible, as long as your child fits the seat's height and weight requirements for your state.
  • All children under 13 should ride in the back seat.
  • Follow your car seat manufacturer's instructions and your vehicle owner's manual on how to install this equipment.
  • Certified technicians are available to check your car seat installation for free. To find a nearby inspection station, use this locator provided by the NHTSA.
  • After an accident, car seats are covered on a replacement-cost basis so you can purchase new, undamaged car seats for your children.
  • Any car seat involved in an accident should not be used anymore, due to risk of future injury.

    Note: To learn more about the specific seatbelt laws in your state, visit the Governors Highway Safety Association website.

    Quick car seat tips

    Car seats aren’t forever. Check the expiration date on car seats, which can often be found on the seat itself.

    Never use a car seat that’s been in an accident. Used car seats may help the budget, but if you don’t know the car seat’s history, it might not keep your child safe during an accident.

    Avoid car seat accessories (toys attached to seat, sun visors, seat protectors). These items are typically not crash-tested with the seat, and could become projectiles or reduce the effectiveness of the car seat in an accident.

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