Child Safety Seats
Car Seat Types
There are four main categories of Carseats on the market today. These are general guidelines of what they are and when to use them.
Rear facing infant seats
Used rear facing for children from birth up to 20 pounds and about 27". It is important that your child's head remain about 2" below the top of the seat. If your child is tall move him to a convertible seat in the rear facing position. Always keep your child in a seat that is appropriate for his height and weight even if you have to purchase multiple seats as the child grows.
Convertible car seat
Used from birth to 40 pounds. Use in the rear facing position up to 20 pounds. Face forward from 20-40 pounds. Some newer models will hold a child much longer. Check with the manufacturer for the height and weight limits of a seat. It is time to move on when the child's head is taller than the back of the seat or the top notch of the harness is positioned below the child's shoulders.
Booster seats with 5 point harness can be used with children from 20-40 pounds. The harness should be removed when the child reaches 40 pounds and the seat can now be used as a belt positioning booster seat.
Belt Positioning Booster
All children who have outgrown their child safety seats height and weight limits should use a belt positioning booster until they are 4'9" tall. These seats must be used with both the shoulder and the lap belt. The shoulder belt should fall across the child's chest not the neck or throat. The lap belt must be low and snug across the thighs, not the stomach. In addition, the child should be tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with her legs bent at the knees and feet hanging down
There are so many varieties of Carseats there is one to fit your child's needs even if he is very tall and hasn't quite met the weight limit. All Carseats sold in the United States have met federal safety standards. A seat that might be perfect for everybody else might not be perfect for your child. Find the seat that has the best fit for your child's needs and the right fit for your vehicle.
Installing a Car Seat
It is estimated that nearly four out of every five Carseats are installed and used improperly. Are you using yours correctly?
Location, location, location
Car Seat Finder
Find your child's height and weight in the chart below to find out which car seats on the market will fit your child's needs.
Car Seat Safety Laws by State
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation - Child Passenger Safety
"child restraint system" generally refers to any device which meets the standards of the United States Department of Transportation designed to restrain, seat or position children.
In most cases these laws are describing a passenger motor vehicle. Refer to your individual state's safety laws for information on the exceptions for other vehicles such as buses and hired vehicles