Proper use of car safety seats helps keep children safe. The type of seat your child needs is dependent on several things, including your child’s age and size and the type of vehicle you have. Here are some general guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- Infants/Toddlers. All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer. In Kentucky, any child below 40 inches tall must be in a child and/or infant seat.
- Toddlers/Preschoolers. Any child who has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for his convertible car seat should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
- School-Aged Children. All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their car seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 57 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age. Under a new Kentucky law enacted in June 2015, any child younger than 8 years of age and between 40 and 57 inches tall be secured in a booster seat.
- Older Children. When children are old enough and large enough for the vehicle seat belt to fit them correctly, they should always use lap and shoulder seat belts for optimal protection. All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the back seats of cars for optimal protection.