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In the United States, motor vehicle–related injuries are a leading cause of death among children.

  • Always buckling children in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats, and seat belts reduces the risk of serious and fatal injuries by up to 80%.

  • CDC’s Injury Center has updated their resources and website to reflect new child passenger safety guidelines from AAP and best practices.

  • Make sure children are properly buckled up in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt, whichever is appropriate for their weight, height, and age.

The stages:

  • Rear-facing car seat: Birth until age 2-4.

    • Best possible protection

    • Back seat

    • Until they reach upper weight/height limits for seat model  (Check seat’s owner’s manual and/or labels on the seat for weight and height limits.

  • Forward-facing car seat:

    • After outgrowing rear-facing seat until at least age 5.

    • Back seat

    • Until they reach upper weight/height limit of their seat. (Check seat’s owner’s manual and/or labels on the seat for weight and height limits.

  • Booster seat:

    • After outgrowing forward-facing seat and until seat belts fit properly.

    • Once children outgrow their forward-facing seat, they should be buckled in a belt positioning booster seat until seat belts fit properly.

    • Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck).

    • Proper seat belt fit usually occurs when children are about 4 feet 9 inches tall and age 9-12 years.

  • Seat Belt:

    • Once seat belts fit properly without a booster seat.

    • Children no longer need to use a booster seat once seat belts fit them properly

    • Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck).

    • Proper seat belt fit usually occurs when children are about 4 feet 9 inches tall and age 9-12 years.

    • For the best possible protection, keep children properly buckled in the back seat.

Source:  CDC

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