Paulo Bandeira Pinho, MD, FAAP

Text Box: CAR SEAT SAFETY

Rules about car seats:

1. Children should be in a rear facing car seat until they are 20 lbs AND 1 year of age.  Meeting BOTH of these criteria ensure that your baby has adequate head control to be in a forward facing seat.

2. A rear-facing car seat should never be placed in the front passenger seat of any vehicle with a passenger-side airbag.  The ideal place for a car seat in in the middle of the rear seat.  This decreases the likelihood that any impact from the side of the car will cause any harm to the child.

3. A convertible safety seat, which is positioned reclined and rear-facing for a child up until 20 lbs and 1 year of age and semi-upright and forward facing for older children up to 40 lbs, should be used as long as the child fits well (ie, ears below the top of the back of the seat and shoulders below the seat strap slots.).  You can often purchase a 3-in-1 convertible seat that is extremely safe and usually well priced.

4. A booster seat provides a transition between a forward facing convertible car seat and the vehicle safety belt and should be used for children 60-80lbs.

5. Be sure to secure both the child in the seat and the seat to the car.

 

Local and county police departments are great resources for appropriate installation of safety seats.  They will often provide times and locations for installation checks or outright installations.  You can also contact the Department of Transportation’s Auto Safety Line at (888) DASH-2-DOT or (888) 327-4236.

 

All car seats are not created equally and particularly the convertible seats can be incredibly safe in one phase of use and incredibly unsafe in another.  Click on the link below to read consumer reports safety information on particular car seats and pick the seat that is most safe and most reasonably priced for your child’s needs.

DISCLAIMER—The information on this page is to be used as a guideline in the management of the well and sick babies.  Some of the information as presented may not apply to your child in the face of their medical conditions, age and weight.  Medications listed in subsequently linked pages may have adverse reactions that are unique to certain individuals and may in fact be contraindicated depending on the presentation of your child.  Vaccines schedules and feeding guidelines may vary depending on concurrent medical illness, previous reactions, physician decision and parental concern about composition.  Baby product recommendations should be tailored to the special needs of your baby and should be taken as one of multiple opinions a parent should obtain.  Finally, all medical conditions reviewed should not be diagnosed without the trained eye of a pediatrician.  Ultimately, ALL medical decisions should ultimately be run by a physician to ensure your child’s safety and complete medical care.

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