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.