Taking Your Child for a Ride
First published Spring 2012
Obviously, you cannot wait to bring your new baby home for the first time. But in order to ensure that your baby’s first ride — and each one thereafter— will be safe, you must have the appropriate, properly installed car seat.
The safest place for your new baby is in the backseat, riding in a rear-facing infant car seat. In the event of a crash, car seats that face backwards give a child’s head, neck and spine extra protection.
There are different types of rear-facing car seats. Infant car seats can be used rear-facing only. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position. This allows you to keep your child rearfacing for a longer period of time.
Right after you install your car seat, fill out and mail the registration card, or register your car seat online at www. safercar.gov/parents. If the car seat is found to have a potential safety issue and has to be recalled, the car seat manufacturer will let you know that the seat cannot be used, and will provide further instructions.
After your child’s first birthday, check your car seat’s rear-facing weight and height limits — which are printed in the instructions — periodically.
Your baby should continue to ride rear-facing until reaching the top height or weight limit stated by your car seat manufacturer. When reaching the rear-facing size limits, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
Always refer to the car seat instructions, read the vehicle owner manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or LATCH system, and continue to check height and weight restrictions.
If, like most parents, you need help installing or using your car seat, visit a car seat inspection station. To locate an inspection station in your area, go to www. safercar.gov/parents.