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Public Policy:Child Car Restraints

By Tanya Young


8 to 12 years

2 to 5 years old

5 Years and up

Birth to one year





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CDCCar Seat Guidelines

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Improper Use of Car Seats

If a car seat is not properly installed in the vehicle, it will not offer the level of protection that it should to a child. Some states have a requirement that your car seat is properly installed, and it means referencing the instructions from the manufacturer when it comes to installation and use of the seat. There are car seat inspection stations where a certified inspector can provide you with assistance and guidance. During a child safety seat checkup event or inspection station. A certified child passenger safety technician will work with the family. During the event, the technician will check for the correct seat use based on the child’s age, height, weight, and development. They will provide proper education an installation of the car seat into the vehicle. The technician will also aid with the proper harness and safety belt fittings for the infant or child.

Make sure the child is buckled in safely for every trip.

Make sure your car seat is properly installed into your vehicle.

Letting your baby sleep in the car seat is super risky.

  • A new study of infant sleep-related deaths in sitting devices car seats, strollers, chairs, swings, and bouncers found that 63 percent happened in car seats.
  • When babies sleep in the sitting position, their heads can fall forward, restricting their airways and causing them to stop breathing.
  • More than half of car seat deaths occurred in the child’s home, and it wasn’t just already vulnerable babies who were victims.


I believe there is a need for increased education and guidance for the use and misuse of child safety restraints. It’s not only doctors or pediatricians that need to educate families, but it is also the responsibility of the parents to educate anyone that is taking care of their infant such as grandparents, babysitters or childcare providers. Car seats should always be used in a vehicle but should never be used as a substitute crib or basinet. The same is true for any other baby item like bouncers, swings and strollers. Instruction manuals should be reviewed for guidelines on all of these and only be used for their intended use to prevent accidents.

Infant car seats are to be used rear facing for infants up to one year of age or 20 pounds. While a year and 20 pounds were standard for forward facing car seats, most experts now recommend using rear-facing child seats until children outgrow the top weight and height and weight recommendations.

Convertible seats in the forward position or forward- facing seats until the child is five years of age or 40 pounds.

Children no longer need to use a booster seat when the seat belt fits them properly. The seat belt fits properly when the lap belt goes across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt goes across the center of the shoulder and chest (not across the neck or face). Children should always remain properly buckled in the back seat only, until the age of thirteen.

Children at least four years of age but less than eight years of age, who also weigh at least forty pounds but less than eighty pounds, and who are also less than four feet nine inches tall, shall be secured in a child passenger restraint system or booster seat appropriate for that child.