Not all car seats are created equal: some are convertible, others only face one direction. The way a car seat fits or is installed in a vehicle changes based on type and brand as well. Car seats even have expiration dates on them to ensure the product still meets safety regulations and works well. With so many options and so much information available, it can be hard to select an appropriate car seat, but the AAP provides a list of approved car seats in 2023 at this link for parents to view. Take a look and see if your car seat has been deemed safe and view the weight limits associated with each brand!
Backwards facing car seats installed in the back seat of a vehicle is the safest way for young children to travel in the car. If possible, the middle seat in the back of a vehicle is the safest place for children to ride in a car seat. Rear-facing car seats should never be placed in the front seat of a car. For this reason, we recommend children stay in the rear-facing position as long as possible. Once your child has reached the upper weight limit for their rear-facing car seat, it is time to transition to a forward facing seat with a 5-point harness. Often, this transition occurs after the age of 2 years old, but may vary based on your child’s growth. As this is the next safest way for your child to ride in the car, it should also be maintained until your child reaches the upper weight limit of the forward facing position. The next step in car seats is using a booster seat (with or without a back) and a seatbelt in the car. The transition out of a booster seat usually occurs once a child has reached 4 feet 9 inches in height, and even then, children should ride in the back seat until at least 13 years old.
Installation of a car seat can vary based on the type and brand. If you are looking for assistance or instruction, you can use this link to search for a car seat safety technician in your area!