Ways to Ride
Children who face the rear of the car are five times safer in a car crash. When a car seat is rear-facing, the back of the car seat totally supports the head, neck and vertebrae. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children stay rear-facing up to a minimum of age 2. Many convertible seats accommodate rear-facing, some as old as 4 to 6 years old!
When a child is anatomically ready to face the front of the car, a 5 pt harness is still the optimum way to ride for a child under 40 lbs, 50 lbs and even 65 lbs. Some car seats accommodate the harness for even higher weights up to 90 lbs.
Belt Positioning Booster
Booster seats are for children who are at least 5-12 yrs and are mature enough to stay in the proper position. For a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie across the upper thigh and not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie across the shoulder and chest, never the face or neck. Boosters should still be installed in the back seat and will buckle themselves into the seat.
Lap & Shoulder Belt
Generally, a child is ready for the adult seat belt when they are approximately 4′ 9″ tall and 80 lbs. The depth and width of the car’s seats should be considered as this will impact the way the lap and shoulder belt will fit the child. Again, the maturity level of your child to sit in proper position for the entire ride is a major consideration. Even if they are mature and fit in the seat belt, children under 13 years old are safest in the back seat, according to the United States National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Infant Only Car Seat
Infant only car seats typically consists of a carrier that attaches to a base that can stay permanently installed in the car. Many parents find these seats convenient because the carrier can be removed with baby safely harnessed. Most infant car seats are sold with the base, but not all. Some carriers are sold in combination with a stroller for a complete travel system.