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Starting with a baby's very first ride home from the hospital, parents must make sure that their kids travel safely. Get the right car seat and learn how to use it correctly to help keep your child safe in the car.

It’s also important to be aware of the dangers of parked vehicles (especially hot ones), and know how to protect kids even when a car is not moving.

How Can Kids Ride Safely in Cars?

Car seats. Using a child safety seat (car seat) is the best protection you can give your child when traveling by car. If you need help installing your safety seat or want to be sure you did so correctly, there are child seat inspection stations across the country. Find one near you.

Learn more about car seats.

Booster seats. Booster seats are vehicle safety seats for kids who have outgrown forward-facing or convertible car seats but are still too small to use only a vehicle's seatbelts.

Learn more about booster seats.

Air bag safety. Air bags were designed with adults and teens in mind. Young children can be injured or even killed if they ride in the front passenger seat and an air bag opens.

Learn more about air bag safety.

What Else Should I Know?

Besides keeping kids safe while a vehicle is in motion, it's important to know about the risks of parked vehicles. Never leave a child alone in a parked car. Cars heat up quickly and a hot car can be life-threatening. Also, kids can get trapped in a car, accidentally put a car into “drive,” or get hurt moving seats or opening and closing windows.

Remind other caregivers, grandparents, babysitters, and anyone else who drives your kids about the importance of child seats and the dangers of parked vehicles.

Medically reviewed by: Amy W. Anzilotti, MD
Date reviewed: July 2023