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SafetyBe Prepared: What to Carry in Your CarKeep the following items in your car in case you have a flat tire, are stranded by weather or have some other roadside emergency.Kids and Car SafetyWhether you're driving across country, taking the kids to Grandma's or just acting as local carpool captain, keeping your young passengers safe should be your number one priority. Child Car Seat Safety GuidelinesWith the wide selection of car seats on the market, how do you know which one to buy, and when to switch from one style to another? And how important are car seats anyway?Driving in the RainHere are some helpful hints on preparing your car and planning ahead for wet road travel.Driving in the WinterWinter driving can be hazardous. Be safe, be smart, by following these tips.Improve Your Night-Driving SkillsHere are some tips, courtesy of Bridgestone Winter Driving School, to improve your night-driving skills.Prevent Drowsy DrivingFeeling tired but unwilling to pull over and take a break? Driving drowsy is risking your life—and those of other drivers!12 Winter Driving Tips from ExpertsWe talked with snow plow drivers and auto technicians across the country – they see it happen and fix your car after that spin-out. Here's their advice:5 Safe Driving TipsThese tips are from police officers and those who have first-hand experiences with car-related emergencies. Pet Safety and Your CarWe've been bombarded with car-seat safety for children, airbag safety for infants, and seat-belt use for everyone. But how safe are your pets in your family vehicle? Animal safety in cars is critical to your best friend's safety. Share the Road Start Seeing MotorcyclesWe asked motorcyclists to share their pet peeves about drivers. Let's all do our part to share the road and get along.5 Common Winter Driving MistakesDo you make the following winter driving mistakes?
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Child Car Seat Safety Guidelines

With the wide selection of car seats on the market, how do you know which one to buy, and when to switch from one style to another? And how important are car seats anyway?

Answering the last question first, here are some statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about kids and car accidents:

Now that you know why your child should be restrained, here's a quick review of restraint options based on your child based on your child's size and age.

Car Seat Categories

Here are the general guidelines for car seats from the NHTSA.

  • Birth to at least 1 year old and at least 20 pounds: rear-facing seat installed in the back seat.
  • Age 1 and 20 pounds to about age 4 and 40 pounds: forward-facing seat installed in the back seat.
  • Age 4 to at least age 8, unless 4'9" tall: booster seat installed in the back seat.
  • Safety belts: at age 8 and older or taller than 4 ft. 9in.;. All children age 12 and under should ride in the back seat.

Still not sure about what type is best? Visit the NHTSA Child Safety website for more information.

Safety Starter Tips for Car Seats

Each car seat and vehicle type is different. Be sure to read the instruction manual for your car seat and the owner's manual for your vehicle before your first ride with a new baby.

Not all car seats can be installed securely and snugly in all vehicles. When installed, make sure your car seat doesn't move more than 1" either forward or backwards or side-to-side. A loose fit can be dangerous.

The safest place for your child's car seat is in the back seat of the vehicle. This is the area that is most protected from the impact of a crash.

In the summer, parts of your car can heat up enough to burn. Vinyl and metal can burn to the touch, so try to always cover them with a blanket in the sun. Also remember that metal seatbelt latches can burn small hands.

Safety Seat Inspection Stations

Need help with your booster seat? Want to make sure you're using it correctly?

There are Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians who trained in installing car safety seats properly and work at child safety seat inspection stations around the country.

To find a Safety Seat Inspection Station in your area, visit NHTSA or Seatcheck.org.

WHN Tip: Traveling or using a rental car? You can also rent a car seat along with your car - costs will range between $2-10. Ask the rental car company to help you properly install your car seat - they may have trained car seat installers on staff.

WHN Tip: If you're traveling by air, the Federal Aviation Administration recommends using an approved child restraint system (CRS) to ensure your child's safety. The CRS must be government approved and have "This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft" printed on it. Otherwise, you may be asked to check the CRS as baggage. (Click here for more information.)

Additional Resources

Consumer Reports Car Seats
Consumer Reports' Car Seat guide includes details on types, features and brands. Both the site and Consumer Reports are published by Consumers Union (CU), an expert, independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves.

Child Safety
A site hosted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Child Safety offers general consumer information about car seat safety, lists the state booster seat requirements and also features a child safety seat inspection station locator. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), under the U.S. Department of Transportation, sets and enforces safety performance standards for motor vehicles and investigates safety defects. NHTSA also conducts research on driver behavior and traffic safety.

Buying a Safer Car for Child Passengers (pdf)
This guide covers general child seat use information, safety features for child passengers and other factors to consider when purchasing a car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), under the U.S. Department of Transportation, sets and enforces safety performance standards for motor vehicles and investigates safety defects. NHTSA also conducts research on driver behavior and traffic safety.

Car Safety Seats: A Guide for Families
An extensive guide to correct seat usage, safety tips and a general guide to car seats listed by manufacturer, size limits and price. The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 pediatricians committed to the attainment of optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.

Seatcheck.org
SeatCheck is a national campaign to help parents properly secure their children in motor vehicles and offers an inspection locator, information on state child passenger laws and other general safety tips. The site is run by DaimlerChrysler and other supporting partners include NHTSA, Graco and AAA.

Other Car Pages
Safety12 Winter Driving Tips from Experts

We talked with snow plow drivers and auto technicians across the country – they see it happen and fix your car after that spin-out. Here's their advice:

 Read More
5 Common Winter Driving Mistakes

Do you make the following winter driving mistakes?

 Read More
5 Safe Driving Tips

These tips are from police officers and those who have first-hand experiences with car-related emergencies.

 Read More
Be Prepared: What to Carry in Your Car

Keep the following items in your car in case you have a flat tire, are stranded by weather or have some other roadside emergency.

 Read More
Child Car Seat Safety Guidelines

With the wide selection of car seats on the market, how do you know which one to buy, and when to switch from one style to another? And how important are car seats anyway?

 Read More
Driving in the Rain

Here are some helpful hints on preparing your car and planning ahead for wet road travel.

 Read More
Driving in the Winter

Winter driving can be hazardous. Be safe, be smart, by following these tips.

 Read More
Improve Your Night-Driving Skills

Here are some tips, courtesy of Bridgestone Winter Driving School, to improve your night-driving skills.

 Read More
Kids and Car Safety

Whether you're driving across country, taking the kids to Grandma's or just acting as local carpool captain, keeping your young passengers safe should be your number one priority.

 Read More
Pet Safety and Your Car

We've been bombarded with car-seat safety for children, airbag safety for infants, and seat-belt use for everyone. But how safe are your pets in your family vehicle? Animal safety in cars is critical to your best friend's safety.

 Read More
Prevent Drowsy Driving

Feeling tired but unwilling to pull over and take a break? Driving drowsy is risking your life—and those of other drivers!

 Read More
Share the Road Start Seeing Motorcycles

We asked motorcyclists to share their pet peeves about drivers. Let's all do our part to share the road and get along.

 Read More