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 car crash and should never be used
to transport infants.
What to look for:
The base (bottom of the infant seat) should be wider than the seat, and the locking
mechanisms should be secure. Push down on the seat to make sure it is sturdy.
The base should have nonskid surfacing to prevent the seat from moving on a smooth
The safety belt should be secure and the fabric should be washable.
If wire supporting devices snap on the back of the seat, make sure they are secure
so that they do not pop out and cause the seat to collapse.
Never place your baby in an infant seat on a table, counter, or other
raised surface — your child could fall. Don't put it on the washing
machine or any other vibrating surface because the vibrations could cause the seat
to move and fall.
Use the safety belt every time you place your baby in the seat.
Don't place the seat on soft surfaces (such as beds or sofas) because it
may tip over and the baby could suffocate.
Child Safety Seats (Car Seats)
More children are seriously injured or killed in auto accidents than in any other
type of accident. Using a car
seat is the best protection you can give a child when traveling
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:
Choose a seat with a label that states it meets or exceeds Federal Motor Vehicle
Safety Standard 213.
Accept a used seat with caution:
Never accept a seat that's more than 6 years old or one that was in a crash (even
if it looks OK, it could be unsafe).
Avoid seats that are missing parts or are not labeled with the manufacture date
and model number (you'll have no way to know about recalls). Also, check the seat
for the manufacturer's recommended "expiration date."
If you have any doubts about the seat's history, or it has cracks or other signs
of wear and tear, don't use it.
Be sure that the seat you choose fits your child. A smaller baby can slip out
of a seat that's too large.
Consider choosing a seat that's upholstered in fabric. It may be more comfortable
for your child.
Infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they reach the maximum
weight and height limits recommended by the seat's manufacturer. Safety experts say
to do this based on a child's size, not their age. So, small children can stay rear-facing
until age 3 or 4.
When kids are ready to move 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, place them in a booster
seat. Kids should use a booster seat until the car's lap-and-shoulder belt
fits properly. This usually is when they've reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and
are between 8 and 12 years old.
You can find more information about keeping kids safe in cars online at: