How can I know if my child is in the correct kind of car seat?

 

A:

As a child, you may remember sitting in a very basic car seat. There were probably fewer rules back then regarding child safety in cars, and you may have stopped sitting in a car seat at a fairly young age. You must remember that things have changed considerably, and it is important for you to research car seat safety tips. 

Here's what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends: 

  • From Birth - 12 Months, your child should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. 
  • From 1-3 Years Old, keep your child in a rear-facing seat as long as possible. Once they outgrow the seat by reaching the top height or weight limit allowed by the seat's manufacturer, your child can travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness. 
  • From 4-7 Years Old, keep your child in the forward-facing seat with a harness until they reach the top height or weight limit allowed by the manufacturer. Once they've outgrown the harness seat, they can move up to a booster seat. 
  • From 8-12 Years Old, keep your child in the booster seat until they are big enough to wear a seat belt properly. This would mean that the lap belt portion lies snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt portion shoulder lie snugly across the shoulder and the chest, not the neck or face. 

The NHTSA also recommends keeping your child in the back seat until they are at least 12 years old—it's simply safer for them back there. 

If you have been involved in a car or truck accident in Austin, contact attorney Earl Straight for a free, no obligation consultation at 512-454-1331.