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How To Pick a Car Seat

When safety is your priority, follow this advice to be sure your kids are as safe as houses when on the road.


  • Step 1: Practice installing the car seat and positioning your child correctly in it. Make sure the seat is easy to use properly.
  • Step 2: Always buy a new car seat. Used seats may have been subject to recall, in an accident, or be too old to conform to the latest safety standards.
  • FACT: Four out of five car seats are installed incorrectly.
  • TIP: Make sure there is enough padding in the seat for your child to sit comfortably for hours if you take any long trips and that the seat has a secure five-point buckle system.
  • Step 3: Choose a car seat that is comfortable for your child. Have your child sit in the seat and adjust the harness and seatbelt to the proper position. Make sure there are no exposed metal buckles that will get too hot in the sun, risking a burn.
  • Step 4: Make sure the seat will grow with your child. Many manufacturers offer convertible car seats that conform growing children.
  • Step 5: Test the seat in your car. It may be difficult to find a proper fit for compact cars and smaller SUVs, especially for an infant carrier.
  • TIP: Contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for information on upcoming events that make sure your seat is installed correctly. You can also use an inspection locator online.
  • Step 6: Consider your child's weight, height, and age. Read the manufactuer's instructions carefully to ensure your child complies with the requirements.

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