Car Seat Guidelines

The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that toddlers remain in rear-facing car seats until they grow too big for seat specifications (until your child exceeds the maximum height and weight the car seat manufacturer allows). That means your child could be rear-facing in the car until age 2 or older.

After that point, the guidelines advise using a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as possible—again, up to the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer.

Convertible car seats, which can be used either forward or rear facing, tend to have higher weight and height limits—generally up to 35 pounds—than do infant-only seats, which snap in and out of a base that stays in the car.

After that, use a belt-positioning booster seat to keep your child safe. Unless your car has a child safety seat built into it, remember that seat belts are made for adults and will not fit or protect a child until she is 4-feet, 9-inches tall, usually between 8 and 12 years of age.

And remember that kids can unbuckle themselves earlier than you might think, so keep an eye on them.

See also ...

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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