Child Car Seat Safety System
It is recommended that children sit rear-facing for as long as possible. In Scandinavian countries, for example, children sit rear-facing until around 4 years old. Rear-facing car seats are significantly safer in frontal collisions, which are the most likely to cause severe injury and death. Rear-facing group 1 car seats are becoming more widespread but are still difficult to source in many countries.
Make sure they know how to protect themselves by sitting in a back seat and using a factory installed safety belt. Fifty percent of children who died in 2004 in motor vehicles were completely unrestrained. Do not let your child become a statistic.
In 2013, a new car seat regulation was introduced: “i-Size” is the name of a new European safety regulation that affects car seats for children under 15 months of age. It came into effect in July 2013 and provides extra protection in several ways, most notably by providing rearward facing travel for children up to 15 months instead of 9 to 12 months, which the previous EU regulation advised.
After reaching one year of age and 20 pounds (9.1 kg), children may travel in forward-facing seats. Most Scandinavian countries require children to sit rear-facing until at least the age of 4 years. This has contributed to Sweden having the lowest rate of children killed in traffic in international comparisons.
If you would like NHTSA to provide your child restraint registration information to the manufacturer, please fill out this Registration Form and mail it to the address below. You may also e-mail or fax it if you choose.
Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
As of January, 1, 2019 the Child Passenger Protection Act is amended to include the requirement for children under age 2 years to be properly secured in a rear-facing child restraint system unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or are 40 or more inches tall.
Parents should not put children into safety seats with thick winter coats on. The coat will flatten in an accident and the straps will not be snug enough to keep the child safe. An alternative would be placing a coat on the child backwards after buckling the child in.
The Secretary of State’s office provides child safety seat inspections by certified child safety seat technicians at many Driver Services facilities throughout the state through its Keep Me In a Safe Seat Program. I encourage you to schedule a visit at one of these fitting stations to ensure that your child is in the appropriate child safety seat and that it is installed properly in your vehicle. To schedule a child safety seat inspection, please fill out the Request a Child Safety Seat Inspection form or call 866-247-0213.
Booster seats are recommended for children until they are big enough to properly use a seat belt. Seat belts are engineered for adults, and are thus too big for small children. In the United States, for children under the age of 4 and/or under 40 pounds (18 kg), a seat with a 5-point harness is suggested instead of a booster seat.