Safety Corner: Child Car Seat Safety Tips

• All children under 13 years of age should be placed in the back seat of a vehicle, especially one with passenger-side air bags.

• Newborns, infants and toddlers should be in a rear-facing infant-only or convertible seat until they are 2 years old or have outgrown their rear-facing seat. Children who have reached the maximum weight and height limits of their rear-facing seat before their second birthday would likely still be safer facing backwards, and should use a rear-facing convertible seat with a higher weight and height limit.

• Toddlers older than 2 can use a forward-facing car seat with harness straps while in the back seat until they outgrow it. Keep in mind that many car seats now have 50 to 70 pound weight limits, so kids can be in car seats with harness straps a lot longer.

• Children who have outgrown a car seat with harness straps should be placed in a belt-positioning booster seat.

• Do not use regular seat belts until they fit correctly, when your child is 4 feet 9 inches tall and between 8 and 12 years old. A child will not be ready to use a regular seat belt until the shoulder strap fits across the shoulder (not neck) and the lap belt fits across the hips (not the stomach).

• Read the car seat manufacturer’s instructions and car owner’s manual to be sure that the seat is installed and used correctly.

• U.S. Army Europe requires that service members and dependents comply with host-nation child safety seat laws. According to the European Commission, member states must enforce child safety seat laws with the minimum requirements. If you are traveling, ensure that your child’s safety seat fits the standard for the countries you plan to visit.

For more information, visit