Child Safety Seat Age
Install and Use Car & Booster Seats Properly Install and use car seats and booster seats according to the seat’s owner’s manual or get help installing them from a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.
Along with the problem of instructions not being followed properly, there are other hazards that can affect children involving these safety seats. A recent study[clarification needed] attributed many cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) to the prolonged sitting or lying position these infants are in when putting the safety seats to use. When researchers reviewed more than 500 infant deaths, it was found that 17 of these deaths occurred while the infant was in a device such as a child safety seat. The age of the most occurring rates of death by SIDS in a child safety device was found to be under one month, having six of the 17 deaths happen in this age group. Although SIDS has been found to be a high risk regarding child safety seats, a coroner in Quebec also stated that “putting infants in car seats…causes breathing problems and should be discouraged." His warning came after the death of a two-month-old boy who was left to nap in a child safety seat positioned inside his crib rather than the crib itself. The death was linked to positional asphyxiation. This means that the child was in a position causing him to slowly lose his supply of oxygen. Coroner Jacques Robinson said it's common for a baby's head to slump forward while in a car seat that is not properly installed in a car and that can diminish a baby's ability to take in oxygen. "The car seat is for the car," he said. "It's not for a bed or sleeping." Robinson added, however, he has nothing against car seats when they are properly used. The coroner said that it is common for a baby’s head to “slump forward while in a car seat and that it diminishes oxygen”.
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.
Rear-facing weight limits range from 9 to 23 kg (20 to 51 lb) depending on the manufacturer and country of origin. Forward-facing limits range from 9 to 40 kg (20 to 88 lb) depending on the seat model and the manufacturer and country of origin.
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.