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Car Seat Smarts to Keep Your Baby Safe

Buckle up!


Baby in car seatTo keep your baby safe while riding in the car, here's what you need to know about car seats:

Birth to Age 3

  • Infants under age 1 should ride in a rear-facing car seat with a harness. In the event of a crash, the seat cradles and moves with your child to reduce the stress on her neck and spinal cord.
  • Your child should remain in a rear-facing seat until she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer.
  • If your child outgrows the rear-facing seat, move him to a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether, which limits your child’s forward movement in a crash.
  • Always buckle the seat’s harness system securely to hold your child safely in the seat. Allow no more than one finger-width of slack between your child’s collarbone and the harness strap.

For All Ages

  • All children (13 and younger) should ride in the back seat, and in a car seat, as long as possible, according to the height and weight requirements of the seat.
  • Choose a car seat based on your child’s age, weight, and height.
  • Read your car’s manual, as well as the car seat manufacturer’s instructions, to find out how to install the car seat using the seat belt or the LATCH system.

Sources: Governors Highway Safety Association; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Safe Kids USA; State of NJ Dept of Law & Public Safety.

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