Is your child facing the right way for weight, height, and age?

Is the harness snug?

Does the car safety seat fit correctly in your vehicle?

Can you use the LATCH system?

Is the seat belt or LATCH strap in the right place and pulled tight?

Has your child outgrown the forward-facing seat?

Do you have the instructions for the car safety seat?

Has the car safety seat been recalled?

Do you know the history of your child’s car safety seat?


If you have questions or need help installing your car safety seat, find a certified child passenger safety technician (CPST). Lists of certified CPSTs and child seat-fitting stations are available on the following Web sites: NHTSA Parents Central ( and National Child Passenger Safety Certified Technicians ( [click on “Find a Tech”]).

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers more information in the brochure Car Safety Seats: A Guide for Families. Ask your pediatrician about this brochure or visit the official AAP Web site for parents,

Although the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is not a testing or standard-setting organization, this publication sets forth the AAP recommendations based on the peer-reviewed literature available at the time of its publication and sets forth some of the factors that parents should consider before selecting and using a car safety seat.

Listing of resources does not imply an endorsement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP is not responsible for the content of external resources. Information was current at the time of publication.

The information contained in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

Figure 1 adapted from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. LATCH Makes Child Safety Seat Installation as Easy as 1-2-3. DOT HS publication 809 489. Published March 2011. Accessed January 13, 2017.

Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 by Anthony Alex LeTourneau.

© 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics. All rights reserved.
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Car Safety Seat Checkup

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Using a car safety seat correctly makes a big difference. Even the right seat for your child’s size must be used correctly to properly protect your child in a crash. Here are car safety seat tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Does your car have airbags?

  • Never place a rear-facing car safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle that has a front passenger airbag. If the airbag inflates, it will hit the back of the car safety seat, right where your baby’s head rests, and could cause serious injury or death.

  • The safest place for all children younger than 13 years to ride is in the back seat regardless of weight and height.

  • If an older child must ride in the front seat, a child in a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness may be the best choice. Be sure you move the vehicle seat as far back from the dashboard (and airbag) as possible.

FIGURE 1.Car Safety seat with LATCH.

FIGURE 2. Rear-facing–only-car safety seat.

FIGURE 3. Convertible car safety seat used rear facing.

FIGURE 4. Forward-facing–only car safety seat.

FIGURE 5. Belt-positioning booster seat.

FIGURE 6. Lap and shoulder seat belt.

Copyright © 2018 Collin County Pediatrics. All rights reserved.