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Child Safety Seat Guidelines

Always read and follow the child safety seat and vehicle manufacturer’s instructions for installation and height/weight guidelines.

Newborn-12 months
Children under age 1 and weighing less than 20 pounds should always ride in a rear-facing infant seat or a convertible seat used rear-facing.

  • Never install a rear-facing safety seat in front of an active airbag.
  • Rear-facing safety seats should recline 30-45 degrees.
  • The child’s head must be at least 1 inch below the top of the safety seat when rear-facing.
  • Use the harness straps/slots at or below shoulder level when rear-facing.
  • Harness straps must be snug on the child; the harness clip should be at armpit level.

Ages 1-4
Children should remain in a rear-facing safety seat until age 2, or until they are at the upper height or weight limit of the seat. When a child out- grows a rear-facing safety seat, he or she may transition to a forward-facing seat with a harness system.

  • Use the internal harness system until the upper height or weight limit is reached.
  • Use harness straps/slots at or above shoulder level when forward-facing.
  • Harness straps must be snug on the child; the harness clip should be at armpit level.
  • The top of the child’s ears should not be above the top of the car seat when forward-facing.

Ages 4-8
Children should be secured in a forward-facing safety seat with an internal harness system until they reach the upper height or weight limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer. When a child outgrows the forward-facing seat, he or she may transition to a belt-positioning booster seat.

  • Booster seats must be used with the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belt, never just a lap belt.
  • The lap belt should lie low across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should rest snugly across the shoulder and chest, not across the neck or face.
  • The top of the child’s ears should not be above the top of the back of a booster seat with a back.
  • If using a backless booster seat, the vehicle’s head restraint must be positioned properly.
  • Secure the booster seat with the vehicle’s seat belt when not in use.

Ages 8-12
Children should stay in a belt-positioning booster seat until they are tall enough to properly fit in an adult lap/shoulder belt.

SOURCE: http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/childsafety.html

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