Infant seats should not be confused with infant or child safety seats (car seats). Regular infant seats simply allow young babies to sit up. They're not designed to protect a baby in a crash and should never be used to transport infants. Some child safety seats, however, can double as infant seats.
What to look for:
More children are seriously injured or killed in auto accidents than in any other type of accident. Using a child safety seat is the best protection you can give a child when traveling by car.
Never substitute any type of infant seat for a child safety seat. Only child safety seats — properly installed in the back seat — are designed to protect a child from injury during a collision.
What to look for:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants and toddlers ride in a rear-facing seat until they are 2 years old or until they have reached the maximum weight and height limits recommended by the manufacturer.
Once kids are ready to transition to a forward-facing seat, they should be harnessed in until they reach the maximum weight or height for that seat. When they have outgrown their forward-facing harnessed seat, they need to be placed in a booster seat. Kids should use a booster seat until the car's lap-and-shoulder belt fits properly, which is typically when they've reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years old.
For more information on proper installation of child safety seats and how to harness your child, read our article on auto safety. You also can call the Department of Transportation Auto Safety Hotline — (888) DASH-2-DOT — if you have questions.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: August 2014
|U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) This federal agency collects information about consumer goods and issues recalls on unsafe or dangerous products.|
|National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) NHTSA is the government agency responsible for ensuring and improving automobile and traffic safety.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
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|Auto Safety More kids are injured in auto collisions than in any other type of accident, but you can protect them by learning the proper use of car seats and booster seats.|
|Booster Seat Safety Your tot's not a baby anymore! It's time for a big-kid booster seat. But how can you ensure that your child is still safe and secure in the car? Find out here.|
|Car Seat Safety What's the right way to install an infant safety seat? Is your toddler ready for a convertible seat? Get the car seat know-how you need here.|
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