Page 1 Selecting the Right Car Seat 3. Stages of Car Seat Use F

Page 1 Selecting the Right Car Seat 3. Stages of Car Seat Use F
Selecting the Right Car Seat
Stages of Car Seat Use
The SAFEST car seat for your child is the one that...
Fits your child Fits your car
Children are safest when they stay in Make sure the car seat fits correctly
each of the stages below for as long as In your car. Not every car seat can
possible, riding in a car seat that fits them. be installed correctly in every car. If
Make sure your child is within the car seat you need help, go to a local car seat
weight and height guidelines. Check labels checkup station (see Resources).
and instructions.
Stage 1: Ride Rear Facing
...from birth until baby meets the rear-facing size limit
(about 24 months). Look for:
Rear-facing-only car seat (shown): Use rear facing
up to 22 to 40 pounds; small and easy to carry.
Convertible car seat: Use rear facing up to 30 to 50
pounds; large, stays in car; can be used forward facing
when baby is too heavy or tall to be rear facing.
Stage 2: Ride Forward Facing in a Harness
...when over 24 months (at least over age 1 AND over
20 pounds), and as long as the harness fits by height
and weight. Look for:
Convertible, forward-facing-only, built-in car seat,
or vest: These fit up to at least 40 pounds; most can
be used for children up to 65 to 80 pounds.
Combination seat: Use with the harness up to 40
to 90 pounds; can be used without the harness as a
booster seat when the child is older and larger.
Stage : Ride in a Booster Seat
..when the child has outgrown a hamess but does not yet fit
a seat belt (see below); likely to be up to 10 to 12 years old.
Look for one that goes to at least 100 pounds. One without
a back is okay if the car has head restraints and the child
does not nap while riding. One with a high back (shown)
might protect better in side crashes.
A booster must be used with a lap-shoulder belt. If the
car has only lap belts, don't use a booster. Instead, find a
car seat is also better for a child who can't sit still in a booster,
Stage 4: Ride in a Lap-Shoulder Belt
..when the belt fits well, usually when 10 to 12 years old.
To check belt fit, use the 5-StepTest (see Resources).
car seat with a harness that fits the child (see Resources). A ) |
|5 easy for Y OU to use
Find a car seat that is easy for you to
use the right way every time. The easier
it is for you to use, the more likely you will
use it correctly, so your child rides safely
every time you travel.
Crash Testing and Ratings
Every Kind of child car safety seat
(car seat) sold in the United States
or Canada is required by law to pass
tough crash tests. These tests show
what would happen if a car was driven
into a brick wall at high speed. This is a
much more serious kind of crash than
most people will ever be in. Car seats
that pass these tests are safe to use.
Most car seat makers do more
testing than required. They do these
tougher crash tests to make sure their
car seats are safe.
There are also several rating
programs for car seats, such as
Consumer Reports, BabyGearl ab, IHS
fit ratings, and the NHTSA Ease-of-
Use Ratings. Most reviews are based
on how easy the testers think the car
seats are to use, bu some also do crash
Rating programs can be helpful. Be
aware, though, that a “best pick” may
not be the best car seat to fit your child
and your car. No car seat can be best
for every family situation. Pick the car
seat that works well for your child.
See page 2 for more information on
choosing a car seat.
0 E EE
pe AA. e
FACT SHEET © 2016 Safe Ride News Publications, 800-403-1424 » www.
B1 Revised 1/16
Reproducible by SRN Fact Sheet purchasers only. For non-commercial distribution only.
Selecting the Right Car Seat 2
Car Seat Features to Look For
* Good size limits: Check labels and instructions for
height and weight limits that allow your child to use the
car seat for a long time.
- For preemies and tiny babies: A rear-facing car seat
that can be used for babies under 5 pounds.
- For growing babies: A car seat that can be used rear
facing to at least 30 pounds.
- For preschoolers: A convertible or forward-facing-
only car seat that can be used to 50 or more pounds
and over 45 inches.
- For young school-age children: A booster that can
be used to at least 100 pounds and up to 57 inches.
A 5-point harness: This type has straps over the
shoulders, hips, and between the legs. Avoid car seats
with a 3-point harness or that have a shield or tray. These
are no longer made, and any that exist are too old to use.
Harness buckle: It should be easy to buckle and
unbuckle. Buckle buttons are required to be stiff
enough so kids cannot unbuckle them. Caregivers,
especially those with arthritis, should find one that is
not painful to buckle and unbuckle.
Harness adjuster: A harness that snugs by pulling a strap
at the front of the car seat is usually easier to use than one
that adjusts on the hamess or at the back of the car seat.
Chest clip: Check that this clip on the harness is easy
to open and close.
Belt path: The opening for the seat belt or LATCH strap
should be easy to fit a hand through. Pdding that can be
lifted to access the belt path from the front is helpful.
Seat belt lock-off: Some car seats have a part that
locks onto the car's seat belt. Check the instructions
and make sure the part is easy to use.
LATCH connectors: Check your car manual to see if
your car has LATCH. If it does, look for car seats with
connectors that are easy for you to use. Many people
find connectors that push on and release with a push-
button are the easiest.
Recline guides: They should be easy to see and read.
These are most common on rear-facing car seats.
Angle adjuster foot: Some bases for rear-facing-only
car seats can be reclined, as needed, using an adjuster
foot. For others, you may need to place a rolled towel or
foam roll under the front of the car seat.
Parts of a car seat: 6. Shoulder harness 11. Lower anchor
1. Harness (5-point) slots strap(s) (detail
2. Chest clip 7. Label(s) shows connectors)
3. Buckle 8. Recline guide 12. Base (rear-facing-
4. Buckle strap 9. Belt path only car seats)
5. Hamess adjuster 10, Angle adjuster foot 13. Shell/carrier
Try Before You Buy
It is best if you can take the car seat to your car and install it
before buying it. Always follow the instructions for the car seat
and for the car. Make sure the car seat can be installed tightly.
To check this, hold the car seat at the belt path and pull side to
side and forward. It should not move more than one inch.
Check a Second-Hand Car Seat Carefully
Whenever possible, use a new car seat. They are often safer
and easier to use. If you do use a second-hand car seat, check it
for problems. Make sure it has all its parts and instructions. Check
if it has recalls. Any car seat that has been in a crash should not be
used again. And don't use a car seat after its “do not use” date—
many should not be used more than 6 years. If you are unsure
about any of this, it is not a good car seat for your child!
Don’t Rush to the Next Stage
Moving too soon to the next stage is a very common mistake.
Keep your child in each stage listed on page 1 as long as possible.
Dont move to the next stage until your child has grown too tall or
heavy to continue riding in his current stage.
National Vehicle Safety Hotline: Car seat information, recalls, ratings:
888-327-4236, 800-424-9153 (tty),
SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A.: 5-Step Seat Belt Fit Test, recall list, handouts:
Find a Child Passenger Safety Checkup Location:
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia:
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):
(See AAP's product listing to find car seats with high weight limits.)
FACT SHEET © 2016 Safe Ride News Publications, 800-403-1424 + www.
B1 Revised 1/16
Reproducible by SRN Fact Sheet purchasers only. For non-commercial distribution only.
Y Check Your Child's Car Seat! Safety
Choosing and Using Car Seats Correctly FE
J Is your child using the right car seat?
STAGE 1: Riding rear facing—the safest way for a baby or
toddler to ride.
Child's first year: Rear-facing-only
car seats (A) are small and easy to
carry. Make sure the baby's head
is at least an inch below the top of
the car seat.
Convertible car seats face the rear
for babies up to 30 to 50 pounds (B)
(check label), then can be changed
to face forward. (C, below).
Child’s second year: Continue
facing the rear until the child is at the
car seat's rear-facing weight limit or
the child's head is an inch below the
top of the car seat. Many children ride in a convertible car
seat to face the rear after about age one.
STAGE 2: Riding forward facing with a harness (C, D)—
Use when a car seat that faces the rear is outgrown. May
be a convertible car seat, combination car seat (forward-
built-in car seat, or vest.
STAGE 3: Riding in a booster seat with a lap-shoulder
belt (E)—for school-aged children who have outgrown
a harness. Children need a booster ;
until the seat belts fit correctly, usually ; —
between ages 10 to 12. Always use a A NS
lap-shoulder belt with a booster, never (4 ES
a lap-only belt.
If the car has only lap-only belts, use
a vest or car seat with a harness weight
limit that fits larger children.
Is the car seat second-hand?
» Avoid second-hand car seats. If one is used, check it
carefully. Make sure itis not recalled and has all parts and
instructions. Make sure it has not been in a crash. Don't use
a car seat after its “do not use” date—many may not be used
longer than 6 years. If you are not sure it's safe, dont use it!
U Does your child ride in back?
* The back seat is much safer than the front. Children
under 13 might be big and tall, but their bodies are still
different from an adults. They should ride in the back.
+ Air bag safety: Never put a child in a rear-facing car seat
in front with an air bag. The force of the air bag can kill any
child sitting too close to it. If a truck or car has an air bag
on-off switch, turn it off if a child must ride in the front seat.
J Are you following the instructions?
* Always follow instructions for your child's car seat.
* Also read the sections on seat belts, LATCH, air bags, and
car seats in any car you will use.
ls the car seat tightly installed?
* Car seats can be installed with either a seat belt or LATCH.
Use whichever gives the tightest fit. Do not use both,
unless the car seat and car instructions say it is okay. Check
car seat labels for weight limits for using LATCH.
Put the seat belt or LATCH strap through the correct path on
the car seat (check labels).
If using LATCH, connect the car seat hooks to the correct
anchor bars in the car. Check the car manual.
+ Attach the tether strap on forward-facing car seats.
+ Tighten the seat belt or LATCH. A car seat should move less
than 1 inch if pushed while holding it near the belt/LATCH.
A Are the harness straps the right
height? Are they snug on your child?
* When rear facing, shoulder straps should be as close as
possible to the child's shoulders or below.
* When forward facing, straps must be at or above the
shoulders. (Check instructions; some say to use top slots.)
* Make harness straps snug, so you cannot pinch any slack.
* Make sure
Resources straps are flat, 7 плохо mme
National Vehicle Safety Hotline: 888-327-4236, www not twisted. | FER ow 1
SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A.: 800-745-7233, www. + Putthechest | er 7 FCI | o Г 1 |
Find a Child Passenger Safety Checkup Location: clip at armpit | A Safe Pide Ear
866-732-8243, level N o AB
FACT SHEETS © 2016 Safe Ride News Publications, 800-403-1424 + AS Revised 1/16
Reproducible by SRN Fact Sheet purchasers only. For noncommercial distribution only.
A Tether Is Always Better! Safety
Tethering Your Child’s Forward-Facing Car Seat facts
A tether adds extra protection
In a crash, a tether holds the top of a forward-facing car seat back (see pictures
B and C at right). This helps prevent serious head and neck injuries and can make
a big difference in a crash. To protect well, a tether must be hooked to the correct
anchor in the car and tightened, as described in the car seat instructions.
What is a top tether?
A top tether (also called “tether strap”) connects the
top of a forward-facing child safety seat (car seat) to the
car. Forward-facing car seats with harnesses sold in the — B: Ina crash, the seat belt, tether, and hamess
U.S. and Canada come with a tether. Tethers also are Work fogetiier to-keep the childs heed lit of
: : danger.
used with safety vests and harness-only restraints.
À top tether attaches to a tether anchor in the car. In
most cars since 2000, at least three seating positions have a
Without tether strap a
tether anchor. Most older cars do not have tether anchors, Г
A. Car seat installed but do have places where one could be added using a kit. 7
with LATCH, including A tether is also part of the system called LATCH =
Aion rather (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children). LATCH con-
nects a car seat to the car without using a seat belt (A).
Almost all cars and car seats made since September 2002 have LATCH. Many
2001-2002 car models also have LATCH. (See your car manual.) C. Without a tether. the child's head could hi
When should | tether a forward-facing car seat? something in à crash. This can cause serious
Attach and tighten the top tether whenever possible. Check the car seat instruc- injury.
tions and the car manual for directions and possible weight limits (see page 2). Ifthe A tether system has
car does not have an anchor, ask a car dealer if one can be added to your car. If a
forward-facing car seats does not have a tether, its too old and should be replaced. WO parts
If you cannot use a tether in your vehicle, be sure that the car seat is installed 1) On car seats: A strap with a hook
tightly with a seat belt. and an adjuster (see picture below).
Can | use a tether for a rear-facing car seat? cdéie cames Miss SedE VEL ba
| be used facing forward.
Afew car seats have a tether that can be used when the car seatis rear facing.
This can help keep the car seat more stable. Use a tether for a car seat facing the 2) In cars: An anchor—a bracket
rear only if the instructions say it is okay. ALWAYS follow the car seat instructions. with a hole for the tether hook. (A few
anchors are made of wire or webbing
What if my car seat does not have a tether? loops.) Some anchors are marked with
Infant car seats and boosters usually do not have a tether. If your child's a symbol (see page 2).
forward-facing car seat does not have a tether, check the label for the date it was
made. Car seats made before tethers were added are too old to use now and
| ОД
should be destroyed and replaced. Do not try to make your own tether! Get a car, an add-on anchor kit might be
newer seat that has a tether and other newer safety features. avallable. Same a
If your car seat is not old, but the — dealers offer free
In newer cars, the tether anchor is
installed at the factory. For an older
( Make 1 5 \ tether is lost or damaged, contact installation.
“um, rt. (25) @ . | the car seat maker to see if you can ill
ALA à à | order a new tether. Top tether strap ——> Y
\. a. | ЧА Ао J Tether anchor
FACT SHEET © 2016 Safe Ride News Publications, 800-403-1424 - www. C3 Revised 1/16
Reproducible by SRN Fact Sheet purchasers only. For noncommercial distribution only.
A Tether Is Always Better!
= +
Does my vehicle have tether anchors? : Ne
Almost all 2001 and newer cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs have
at least three seating positions with tether anchors. (Convertible
À tether anchor
cars are not required to have tether anchors.) Check the car
owner's manual. (Look under Top Tether or Child Restraints.)
Look in your car for the symbol shown at right.
Common places to find a tether anchor
* Sedan: On the shelf behind the back seat (О).
* Station wagon or hatchback: In the cargo area (E), on the back of the seat, or
above or below the rear door.
* Van or SUV: On the back or bottom of the seat or in the floor of the cargo area.
(Rarely, a seat belt in the row behind may be used as an anchor in older cars.)
* Pickup truck: Usually behind the seatback or on the back wall of the cab.
All anchors do not look the same, so check the owner's manual. They may be
bars, brackets, rings, or webbing loops. Many anchors are under plastic covers and
might be marked with the tether anchor symbol (above). WARNING! Some cargo tie-
down rings look like tether anchors, but are NOT strong enough. Do not use a cargo
tie-down ring unless the car manual says that it can be used as a tether anchor.
Installing a tether anchor kit in an older car
Anchor kits are available from car dealers for many older cars. Follow the
instructions in your car owner's manual or in the anchor kit. Most cars have at least
two places for anchors. Some makers offer free installation (see right).
The parts department may not know about tether anchor kits. They usually can
find information in service manuals and dealers’ parts catalogs.
For more help, find a local child passenger safety checkup location. (See Resources.)
Tether use on car seats for heavier children
There are many reasons to use any of the many available car seat models with
a harness that can fit children up to 50 to 90 pounds, including:
symbol shows where
anchors are installed
in some cars.
* The child is over 40 pounds, but too short or too active to sit in a booster.
* Only lap belts are in the back seat, making booster seat use impossible.
* The child has a special need for the support of a harness.
* The parent prefers to continue use of a harness over moving to a booster.
Tethering adds extra protection for these children. However, check to see if there
are tether weight limits for the car and car seat, especially for a child over 40 pounds.
Some car makers limit tether anchor use to a maximum child weight. Others say to
follow the the car seat maker's recommendations for tethering. Check the owner's
manuals and call the manufacturers of the car and car seat if you have any questions.
Tether use is recommended for forward-facing car seats whenever possible, and is
required for some car seats made for children with special needs. Some car seats for
special needs have features to cope with anchor weight limits, such as by using two tether
anchors or special shoulder belt routing (see instructions). Sometimes caregivers must get
and install a heavy-duty tether anchor from the car seat maker. (Car dealers usually will
not install these; contact a local mechanic.)
A Child Passenger Safety Technician can help you learn more about the benefits
of tethers and how to use them as long as needed. (See Resources.)
D. Tether anchor locations behind the
rear seat of a sedan
E. Installing a tether anchor kit in a
station wagon cargo area
Who can help me
install a tether anchor?
Call your car dealer, body shop, or
local mechanic. Most Chrysler, Ford,
General Motors, and Toyota dealers
will put in a tether anchor for free. Not
all service people know about install-
ing tethers. Refer them to service
manuals or to the LATCH Manual (see
below). For Toyota's program, see
SBS USA's website, below.
Car Seat Questions:
National Vehicle Safety Hotline:
888-327-4236, 800-424-9153 (tty) or
SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. (SBS USA)
Helpline: 800-745-7233, 800-747-7266
(Spanish) or
Includes Toyota retrofit program details.
Find a Child Passenger Safety
Checkup Location: 866-732-8243 or
LATCH Manual: Using Lower Anchors and
Tethers for Child Restraints, Safe Ride
News Publications; installation manual
with vehicle anchor part numbers.
800-403-1424 or www.
FACT SHEET © 2016 Safe Ride News Publications, 800-403-1424 - www.
Reproducible by SRN Fact Sheet purchasers only. For noncommercial distribution only.
C3 Revised 1/16
YES doctors recommend it. Buckling up through all stages of your М EVE R
pregnancy is the single most effective action you can take to protect drive or ride in a car
yourself and your unborn child in a crash. without buckling up first!
away from your neck (but
not off your shoulder) | NEVER
“place under your
across your chest a or bohind >
(between your breasts) your back
be sure to remove any
slack from your seat beit
secured below your NEVER
belly so that it fits snugly place over or on
across your hips and top of your belly
pelvic bone
upright position
keep as much
distance as
possible between
your belly and the
steering wheel*
comfortably reach
the steering wheel
and pedals**
— Tominimize
the gap between
your shoulder
and the seat belt,
avoid reclining
your seat more
than necessary.
Avoid letting
r—— your belly touch
the steering
* If you need additional room, consider adjusting the steering wheel or having
someone else drive, if possible.
** If you're a passenger, move your seat back as far as possible.
You still need to
wear your seat belt properly.
Air bags are designed to work with
seat belts, not replace them.
Without a seat belt, you could crash into the vehicle interior,
other passengers, or be ejected from the vehicle.
NO. Doctors recommend that pregnant women wear seat belts and leave air bags turned on.
Seat belts and air bags work together to provide the best protection for you and your unborn child.
Seek immediate medical
attention, even if you think
you are not injured, regardless
of whether you were the driver
or a passenger.
© strampananos > Child Car NHTSA
poh o На НО ой Safety ame
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