Car Seat Safety Information

For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers should refer to the following guidelines for determining which restraint system is best suited to protect their children based on their ages and sizes:

For the best possible protection, keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat.  At a minimum, keep infants rear-facing until at least age 1 AND at least 20 pounds.

When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (at least age 1 AND at least 20 pounds) they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (usually around age 4 AND 40 pounds).

Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (usually around age 4 AND 40 pounds), they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly.  Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (usually age 8 or when the children are 4'9" tall).

When the children outgrow their booster seats (usually at age 8 or when they are 4'9" tall) they can use the adult seat belts in the back seat, if they fit properly (lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the should belt fits across the chest).

Child safety seats and booster seats save lives.  They offer the best protection for children in the event of a crash.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 8,325 lives have been saved by the proper use of child restraints during the past 30 years.

In 2006, among children under age 5, an estimated 425 lives were saved; 392 were associated with child safety seats and 32 with the use of adult seat belts.

Child seats reduce the likelihood of an infants (under 1 year old) being killed in a vehicle crash by 71 percent and the risk of a toddler (1 through 4 years old) being killed  by 54 percent.

Children ages 4 through 7 who use booster seats are 59 percent less likely to be injured in a car crash than children who are restrained only by seat belts, according to a study by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

All 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have laws requiring children to be restrained in vehicles.

Child restraints work best when used correctly.

In 2007, 98 percent of America's infants and 96 percent of children age 1-3 were regularly restrained.  For children age 4 to 7 it's 85 percent, according to a 2007 National Occupant Protection Survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In 2007, the National Survey of the Use of Booster Seats found that only 37 percent of children age 4 to 7 were riding in booster seats.  NHTSA recommends that children who have outgrown their child safety seats should ride in booster seats until they are at least 8 years old, unless they are 4'9" tall.

Failure to read the child safety instructions, in addition to vehicle owner manual instructions regarding installation, could result in serious injury or death as a result of a failure of the child safety seat to be securely or properly restrained.

Visit or call 1-800-CAR-BELT for a listing of child safety seat events and safety information for car seats.

Visit, NHTSA's parent resource website, for information on making sure you are using the correct seat for your child's age and size.

Visit or, PennDOT's highway safety website, for Pennsylvania infromation on seat belt use, safe driving tips and other highway safety information.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 September 2016 14:05

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