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Child Passenger Safety
Selecting and Securing Car Seats

Link to Spanish version.

Why do I need to put my child in a child safety seat?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration child safety seats decrease the risk of death in passenger car crashes by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers.

What is the “best” child safety seat for my child?

The one that fits your child, fits your vehicle, and the one that you can install correctly every time.

How do I choose a child safety seat?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ride rear-facing in an infant carrier or convertible car seat from birth until the child reaches the height and weight specified by the child safety seat manufacturer. Children should remain rear-facing until they are at least 2 years of age.

After your child has outgrown his/her rear-facing car seat, he/she may ride in a forward-facing seat (combination seat or booster seat). A forward-facing seat with an internal harness should be used until the child reaches the harness weight limit indicated by the manufacturer. The minimum weight is 40 pounds.

Seat belts are made for persons who are at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall. Your child should ride in a belt-positioning booster until the vehicle seat belt fits correctly (usually around 8 years of age):

  • The shoulder belt should lie on the collar bone and across the middle of the chest.
  • The lap belt should be snug and lie across the upper thighs/pelvic bones, not across the stomach.
  • The child should be able to sit with his/her back against the vehicle seat back with his/her knees bent comfortably over the vehicle seat and his/her feet on the floor.
  • A belt-positioning booster should always be secured with a seat belt, even when the child is not riding in it so it does not become a projectile in a crash.

Need help installing your child’s car or booster seat?

Always refer to the vehicle owner’s manual and child safety seat manual for correct installation instructions. If the instructions conflict, use the child safety seat manual’s instructions.

Need more information?

If you have additional questions, or you would like to make an appointment to have a child safety seat checked by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, please call Safe Kids Oklahoma at (405) 945-6709 or (918) 494-7233 or the Injury Prevention Service (405) 271-3430.

Injury Prevention Service, OSDH, 1000 NE 10th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73117
Revised June 2011

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