How do I select the correct child safety seat or child restraint system?

Department of Motor Vehicles :

To select the correct protection for your child, carefully read the recommendations of child safety seat or child restraint system manufacturers.  The recommendations tell you what age weight and height a child can be to use the seat or system.  The recommendations are normally printed on the outside of the package. 

An appropriate child safety restraint system:

  • Is required for all children until their 8th birthday as of November 24, 2009,. (Prior to November 24, 2009, the requirement applies to children until their 7th birthday), and
  • Must meet the size and weight requirements for the child based on the Federal requirements and the recommendations of the manufacturer, and
  • Can be a child safety seat, a harness, a vest or a booster seat attached with the vehicle seat belt system, but not the vehicle seat belt alone, and
  • Should not be used in the front seat of the vehicle.

These examples can help you to select the correct child safety seat: 

  • Infant seats are normally for infants that weigh approximately 22 pounds or less, are 25 inches or less in length. Always place the seat in the back seat of the vehicle and make sure the child safety seat faces rear of the vehicle. Never put an infant in the front seat of a vehicle that has a passenger-side air bag.
  • Convertible child safety seats are normally for infants or toddlers that weigh approximately 40 pounds or less. For infants, face these seats toward the rear of the vehicle. Follow manufacturer instructions to adjust the seat as the child grows. For the best possible protection, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that a child continue to face the rear for as long as possible up to the weight and height limits specified by the seat manufacturer. For toddlers, you can change a convertible seat to face the front of the vehicle.
  • Booster seats are for children who have outgrown convertible or toddler seats. Booster seats are for children who are four to eight years old, weigh 40 to 80 pounds, and are less than four feet, nine inches in height.  You can use a booster seat until an adult seat belt correctly fits the child without use of the booster seat. Always use both the shoulder and lap belts with a booster seat. Never use only the lap belt with a booster seat.
  • Built-in child seats are available with some vehicle models. Built-in child seats fold away from the standard car seats. Do not use these seats for infants.
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