Children over Two

Car Seat & Booster Seat Safety for Little Kids

Top Tips

Top Tips on properly installing and using forward-facing car seats for children:

Toddler in Carseat
  • Adjust the chest clip to armpit level.
  • Be sure all occupants wear seat belts correctly every time. Children learn from adult role models.
  • Be sure the buckled harness is tight, so you cannot pinch extra webbing at the shoulder.
  • Do not allow children to play with seat belts. Treat them as you would any rope or cord.
  • Have your car seat checked by a currently certified child passenger safety technician to make sure it’s properly installed.
  • If you have a heavier or taller child, find a car seat with a harness that fits larger children. Some seats hold children up to 80 or even 100 pounds.
  • Put forward-facing harnesses through the slots so they are even with or above the child’s shoulders. Some seats require use of the top slots when the seat is forward-facing, so check instructions.
  • Restrain all children in age- and weight-appropriate child restraints when in a car with the motor running. That will limit access to power windows. Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.
  • Use the car seat with a harness that's right for your child's weight and height. Children are weighed and measured at every doctor's visit, so be sure to keep track.
  • Use the car’s safety belt or LATCH system to lock the car seat into the car. Do not use both at the same time.
  • Use a forward-facing car seat correctly and until the harness no longer fits (convertible or combo seat) in a back seat every time your child rides in a car. Many harnesses today serve kids to 50, 60, 80, or even 100 pounds.
  • Use a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible.
  • Use a top tether if both your vehicle and car seat are equipped. Tethers limit the forward motion of your child’s head in a crash.
  • Your car seat should not move more than one inch side to side or front to back. Grab the car seat at the safety belt path or LATCH path to test it.

Booster Seat Readiness

Take the next step to a booster seat when you answer “yes” to any of these questions:

  1. Does your child exceed the car seat’s height or weight limits?
  2. Are your child’s shoulders above the car seat’s top harness slots?
  3. Are the tops of your child’s ears above the top of the car seat?