Choosing a newborn seat
Using the proper child safety seat can protect a child’s life. The best safety seat is one that fits the child and vehicle, and that can be used correctly on every ride.
When choosing a safety seat, always keep the following recommendations in mind:
- Purchase a federally-approved safety seat designed for infants.
- Consider a seat with three or more harness strap positions.
- Maintain correct seat angle according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Read vehicle and safety seat instruction manuals for assistance.
- Install seat prior to hospital discharge.
- Install seat in the rear-facing position.
- Seek local safety seat technicians for assistance (www.nhtsa.gov).
- Follow the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that children ride rear-facing until their second birthday or until they reach the maximum height and weight for the seat. At a minimum, children should ride rear-facing until they are one year and 20 pounds.
- Use a safety seat with an unknown history (purchased at a yard sale, consignment store, etc.)
- Wait until hospital discharge to install the safety seat or seek help.
- Place padding behind the child’s back or under their bottom.
- Purchase extra products that were not sold with the safety seat (harness strap covers, toys, head supports, etc.).
- Place a rear-facing child safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle, unless the vehicle manufacturer allows the airbag to be turned off. (Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations regarding other vehicle airbags.)
If your baby weighs less than five pounds, keep the following additional recommendations in mind:
- Purchase a federally approved infant car seat with a lower weight listed as birth or four pounds.
- Consider a seat with a five-point harness system.
- Consider a seat with two crotch strap positions.
- Use a safety seat with a listed lower weight of five pounds or more.
Get assistance with installation of a child safety seat.