The next step is to know and understand what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend regarding child safety seat use.

The NHTSA’s guidelines and the AAP’s guidelines are categorized by age.

They recommend that:

  • Caregivers always read child seat manufacturers’ instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual for important information on height and weight limits.
  • Caregivers consider several factors when selecting a car seat:
    • Weight
    • Height
    • Physical development
    • Behavioral needs
    • Economic level
    • Type of vehicle
  • Caregivers install the car seat using the seat belt or LATCH system.
  • Caregivers keep children in each restraint type, including rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster seats, for as long as possible before moving them up to the next type of restraint system.
  • All children under 13 ride in the back seat.
  • Children in rear-facing car seats never ride in the front of a car with an active passenger air bag.
Go to the next section to learn more about the difference between recommendations and laws.