Maximum child passenger safety Guidelines
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research, 8,325 lives of children under age 5 have been saved by the proper use of child restraints during the past 30 years. In 2006, among children under 5, an estimated 425 lives were saved by child restraint use. Research shows that child restraints provide the best protection for all children up to age 8; after age 8 seat belts provide the best protection.
Parents and caregivers should refer to the following 4 Steps for Kids guidelines for determining which restraint system is best suited to protect children based on age and size:
- For the best possible protection, keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. At a minimum, keep infants rear-facing until at least age 1 and a least 20 pounds.
- When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (at least age 1 and at least 20 pounds) they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds).
- Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds), they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (usually at age 8 or when they are 4’9” tall).
- When children outgrow their booster seats, (usually at age 8 or when they are 4’9” tall) they can use the adult seat belts in the back seat, if they fit properly (lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest).