Car Seats 101
Which Seat Do You Need? A car seat reference guide.
Whether you're installing the “bucket” for the first ride home from the hospital or making the switch from baby seat to booster, the maze of car seat safety rules and regulations can be quite confusing - and the laws even vary from state to state. Not sure which seat to use, or how long you have to use it? Here's a quick guide, along with the specific requirements for both Connecticut and Massachusetts:
- Be sure to follow the seat's height and weight guidelines; get a car seat that fits your child's age and size, and your vehicle.
- Use both the car seat manufacturer's instructions and your vehicle's owner's manual when installing your seat.
- When installing a new car seat for the first time, consider taking it to an inspection station, where certified technicians will examine your seat and make sure it's properly installed in your car -- for free. Click this link to find a station near you: http://www.nhtsa.gov/cps/cpsfitting/index.cfm
- Children must be in rear-facing seats through 12 months, though it's recommended to keep your child rear-facing until they reach the height and weight limits on your car seat.
- Kids should be in a seat with a five-point harness until at least the age of 4, or until they outgrow the height and weight limits of the seat.
- Once they've outgrown the harness, you can move to a booster seat, which allows for proper positioning of the seat belt. It should cross over the shoulders and chest and rest on your child's upper thighs, not across the stomach.
- Have your child ride in the back seat until age 12.
- Babies are required to be in rear-facing car seats until they are 1 year old AND at least 20 pounds.
- Children must be in an approved car or booster seat until they are 6 years old and over 60 pounds.
- Children under the age of 8 and under 57 pounds need to be in an approved car or booster seat. If they're over 8 and 57 pounds, they are required to use a seat belt.