Child Safety Seat Check
Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether.
Lower anchors have weight limits set by the vehicle and car seat manufacturers. You can determine the lower anchor weight limit by checking the warning label or installation diagrams located on the side of the car seat. If your car seat does not have a label, you can determine the maximum allowable child weight for lower anchor use by subtracting the weight of the car seat (usually available in the car seat’s instruction manual) from 65 pounds.
The lower anchors are found in a minimum of two rear seating positions in a vehicle. Each lower-anchor-equipped seating position has two small horizontal bars found in the space between the vehicle seat’s back and bottom cushion (the “seat bight”).
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.
The Car Seat Finder is an easy-to-use tool that lets you compare seats and ease-of-use ratings to find the right car seat for your child. Just fill out your child’s age, height and weight below, and you’ll be provided car seat types that fit your child. Before you get started, make sure you're familiar with the four types of car seats and NHTSA’s recommendations for choosing the right type of seat for your child.
Your child’s safety could be in jeopardy if your car seat is not installed correctly. Before you install your car seat, make sure you’re familiar with vehicle and car seat parts used in the installation process and these important installation safety tips.
The car seat installation experience is an interactive one and takes 20-30 minutes, depending on the car seat and the vehicle. Parents and caregivers will be asked to complete a form prior to checking your safety seat for proper installation, fit for your child, expiration, and recalls.
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.
Forward-facing seats: Children 1 to 7 can use forward-facing car seats, though it is best to keep a child rear-facing for as long as their weight and height allow. These car seats keep your child secure with a harness and tether. By age 3, most children should have transitioned to a forward-facing seat; by age 7, many children are ready for a booster seat.