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Car Seat Safety

Types of Carseats

  • Rear-facing carseat

    • Uses a harness system and cradles and moves with your child in the event of a crash to reduce the stress on the neck and spinal cord

    • Variations include the infant carseat (rear-facing only), the convertible seat which can be used rear and forward facing, and the all-in-one seat which can be used rear facing, forward facing, and can be converted to a booster seat as a child grows

  • Forward-facing carseat

    • Uses a harness and tether system which limits a child's forward movement in the event of a crash

    • Variations include the convertible seat and the all-in-one seat

  • Booster seat

    • Used to position a child higher up so the car's seatbelt properly rests on the child's body

    • Variations include the booster seat with high back (provides head and neck support), the backless booster seat, the combination seat which transitions from a forward-facing seat with a harness into a booster seat, and the all-in-one seat

Age Ranges for Carseats

  • Rear-facing carseat: birth-3 y/o

    • A child under 1 y/o should always ride in a rear-facing carseat

    • Rear-facing carseats are the safest option for young children and should be used as long as possible

      • Your child needs to be switched to a forward-facing carseat once they reach the maximum height or weight limit allowed by their rear-facing carseat

  • Forward-facing carseat: 1-7 y/o

    • Depending on the type of carseat you have, forward-facing seats can be used as early as 1 y/o, but a rear-facing seat should be used as long as possible

    • Use a forward-facing carseat with a harness and tether until the child reaches the maximum height or weight allowed for that carseat

  • Booster seat: 4-12 y/o

    • Can be used as early as 4 y/o, but it is best to continue using a forward-facing carseat until the child reaches the maximum height or weight for that carseat

    • A child should continue using a booster seat until they are big enough to sit in the normal seat with a seatbelt properly fitted on their body

      • A seatbelt is properly fitted when the lap belt lies snugly across the upper thighs (not the stomach), and the shoulder belt lies snugly across the chest and shoulder (not crossing the face or neck)

  • Seat Belt

    • Children must always wear seat belts and should be seated in the back seat through at least age 12

Check out this Carseat finder tool by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to help you find the appropriate carseat based on your child's age, height, and weight: Carseat Finder Tool

Installation Tips

  • The carseat must be secured tightly in the backseat and should not move front-to-back or side-to-side more than one inch when pulled at the belt path

  • If it is a rear-facing seat, ensure it is at the proper recline angle

  • You can contact a trained Child Passenger Safety Technician to help you install a carseat or inspect it after installation

  • After installation, register your car seat with the manufacturer to ensure you remain updated about any recalls or safety concerns

Other Safety Tips

  • Bulky coats should not be worn while using a carseat

    • Instead, place the coat over the carseat and backwards on the child or use blankets over the carseat

  • The chest clip should be at armpit level

  • The carseat harness is tight enough when extra material cannot be pinched together at the shoulder area

  • In a rear-facing carseat, the straps should originate from at or below the child's shoulders

  • In a forward-facing carseat, the straps should originate from at or above the child's shoulders

  • If possible, buckle children in the middle of the back seat because it is the safest position in the vehicle


  1. CDC and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2021. Child Passenger Safety | Motor Vehicle Safety | CDC Injury Center. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 6 January 2022].

  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2022. Car Seats and Booster Seats | NHTSA. [online] NHTSA. Available at: <> [Accessed 5 January 2022].


The content in this blog should not be used in place of medical advice/treatment and is solely for informational purposes. All activities/exercises posted in this blog should be performed with adult supervision, caution, and at your own risk. Big Leaps, LLC is not responsible for any injury while performing an activity/exercise that has been posted on this blog. If you have any information on the content of our blog, feel free to contact us at


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