Child Safety Seat Installation
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.
Children over one year of age and at least 20 pounds, may ride in a forward-facing child safety seat in the back seat. Children should ride in a safety seat with full harness until they weigh about 40 pounds or the maximum weight limit for the harness. The weight limits for the harness use is printed on the label located on that particular seat.
In addition to registering your car seat to receive recalls and safety notices from your car seat manufacturer, you can sign up to receive e-mail alerts from NHTSA about car seat and booster seat recalls to make sure your child remains safe.
There are many car seat choices on the market. Use the information below to help you choose the type of car seat that best meets your child’s needs or print out NHTSA’s car seat recommendations for children (PDF, 370 KB).
Typically there are a minimum of three tether anchors in a vehicle. In sedans, these are usually located above/behind the vehicle’s back seat on the rear shelf. In some larger vehicles such as vans, pickup trucks, and SUVs, these tether anchors may be found on the back of a vehicle seat, on the floor, the ceiling, or other location.
But we need your help: First, it is imperative to never leave children alone in or around a vehicle, for any reason. It can only take a minute for one of these vehicle risks to seriously injure or kill your child. Second, we need to work together to teach children the dangers of playing in and around cars. Teaching vehicle safety will go many miles in the efforts to keep kids safe.
Children are naturally curious and love to explore their surroundings. If you leave your kids unattended, in or near a vehicle, it may not be long before they are playing in it. Hide and seek can turn deadly if they get trapped in the trunk, where temperatures can rise very quickly—resulting in heatstroke or asphyxiation.
Whether you’ve just installed a car seat or need help installing or using one, get help at a car seat inspection station near you. Certified technicians will inspect your car seat free of charge, in most cases, and show you how to correctly install and use it.
Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat because it’s safer there.