Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness provides child car seat safety information for parents and families to help prevent injuries from vehicle accidents. On average, 8 out of 10 car seats are being used incorrectly. Correctly using a child safety seat, also called car seat, can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71%. It’s important to know that:
- The safest way for a child ride in a vehicle is to buckle them up in a child restraint that is the right fit for them during every single car ride.
- The safest car seat is one that fits your child correctly in the vehicle and can be installed securely according to the car seat and vehicle manufacturer guidelines.
- Not all car seats fit every child correctly, and not all car seats can be installed securely the same way in every vehicle.
Are You Using the Right Car Seat?
- Check the labels on the car seat for the weight, height and age limits to ensure your child fits appropriately. Pay close attention to the correct label for each phase of use. It’s important to use each phase of a car seat (rear-facing, forward-facing and booster seat) as long as possible, according to the seat’s label. Don’t rush to the next phase!
- Check your car seat’s expiration date. You can find the expiration date on one of the labels or imprinted on the plastic.
- Make sure you know the history of the car seat. A used car seat is unsafe if it has been in a crash or is missing parts. If the history is unknown, choose a different car seat.
- Check your car seat for recalls. Not all recalls necessarily mean you cannot use the car seat for travel. Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to learn about open recalls.
- Register your car seat by returning the included registration card to the manufacturer, entering the information online or by calling the manufacturer. If you do not have the original registration card, you will need to locate the manufacturer ID number and date located on one of the labels on the car seat.
How to Use Your Car Seat Correctly
To use your car seat correctly, refer to your own vehicle and car seat manuals, and watch our videos below.