As a parent, it is your job to protect your child when riding in a vehicle. Using car seats properly helps keep children safe. But with so many different types of car seats on the market, understanding how to use them correctly can be overwhelming for parents.
Visit the AAP™ Car Seat Safety Information page for guidance on choosing the most appropriate car safety seat for your child.
New CT Car Seat Laws!
October 1, 2017
Rear Facing Car Seat
-Children under 2 years must remain rear facing with a 5-point harness (NEW!)
-Children under 30 lbs must remain rear facing with a 5-point harness regardless of their age (NEW!)
(Best Practice is to keep the child rear-facing until they are at least age 2 but it is recommended to keep them rear-facing until they outgrow the rear-facing limits of their car seat, even if they are rear-facing through age 3-5 and even if their legs are bent or feet touch the seat back—legs and necks are still safer when rear facing)
Forward Facing Car Seat
-Children must be at least 2 years of age
-Children must be at least 30 lbs.
-Children who are at least 2 and weigh at least 30 lbs can be forward facing with a 5-point harness but it is recommended that they ride in a rear-facing seat until they outgrow the seat limits. This is safer even if their legs are bent or feet can touch the seat back
ALWAYS USE THE TOP TETHER IN A FORWARD FACING SEAT
-Children must be at least 5 years old (NEW!)
-Children must be at least 40lbs
-Remember that boosters are less safe than forward-facing seats and kids CAN remain in a forward facing 5-point seat until they outgrow it, which could be much older than 5 years and over 60lbs.
-Children must remain in the booster through age 8 AND weigh over 60 lbs (NEW!) but longer is better! Boosters are safer than seat belts!
-Children must be 8 years or older AND over 60lbs but most children do not properly fit a seat belt at this age and size.
-Never use a lap belt only (or put the shoulder belt behind your child or under the arm).
Check if the seat belt fits your child REMEMBER,this can vary from car to car!
1. Can the child bend knees over the edge of the seat when his/her back and bottom are against the seat back? (if not, he/she will scoot forward on the seat to sit comfortably but then the seatbelt cannot keep them safe
2. Does the lap belt sit on the lap or ride up on the belly? (the belly has vital organs and a spinal cord that can be damaged if a child is too short for the seat belt)
3. Does the shoulder belt sit over the middle of the shoulder/collar bone? If it hits the neck then the belt does not fit. This also may vary from car to car.
4. Can the child stay seated in the proper position for the entire car ride? Many children wiggle, fidget or fall asleep and can’t keep themselves seated in a seatbelt properly during car rides.
***If the answer to any of these 4 questions is “No” then your child will need to sit in a booster seat.*** Remember, boosters are meant to fit children age 8-12 who do not fit a seat belt properly. Children who are taken out of boosters too early are not as safe.
CHILDREN UNDER AGE 13 SHOULD ALWAYS RIDE IN THE BACK SEAT OF THE CAR.