Thursday, September 12, 2013

Choosing the Right Car Seat for Babies & Children Up to Age 12

Most parents assume that their child's car seat is installed correctly, but the numbers tell a different story.

Three out of four children are at an increased risk of injury because their car seats are not being used correctly, and car accidents are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 through 12.

Think that your child doesn't need a car seat? You may be surprised to learn that most children should be in a car seat until the age of 8 and a booster seat until the age of 12 (depending on their size).

Upcoming Child Safety Seat Checks

Take another look at your child's car seat. In the days leading up to National Child Passenger Safety Week (September 15-21), you'll have an opportunity to have your car seat inspected by a certified child passenger safety technician.

Reservations may be required.

September 14 - Niagara County
11 a.m - 2 p.m.
Veterans Memorial Park, 7000 Lockport Road, Niagara Falls, New York 14305
Contact: Grace E. Destino at (716) 438-3190

September 21 - Erie County
10 a.m - 2 p.m.
Evans Center Fire Hall, 8298 Erie Road, Angola, NY 14006
Contact: Lt. Mike Masullo at (716) 549-3600

Click here for a complete list of child safety seat checks throughout New York State.

Child Safety Seat Inspection Centers

Can't make an upcoming event?

Go to an inspection station near you to have your car seat inspected. There are over 2 dozen inspection stations in the surrounding area.

Click here for a list of inspection centers.

Choosing a Car Seat

Choose a car seat based on your child's age and size.

Rear-facing Car Seats

Babies and toddlers need a rear-facing car seat. Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe, as the seat cradles and moves with your child to reduce the stress to the child’s fragile neck and spinal cord.

Forward-facing Car Seats

Your child will likely outgrow a rear-facing car seat by the age of 3 and graduate to a forward-facing car seat. This seat has has a harness and tether that limits your child’s forward movement during a crash.

Booster Seat

After your child outgrows the forward-facing seat, usually by the age of 8, switch to a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly.

For a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.

Your child will probably outgrow the booster seat by the age of 12.

Click here for more information about choosing a car seat.

Learn More About Car Seat Safety

To learn more about car seats, including how to choose and install them, visit

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