Guidelines and Installation
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recently published the following guidelines regarding child passenger safety and car seat installation:
Misuse or Installation Error
Which Kind Do We NEED
and When Can We Switch?
It is actually recommended that an infant remain in a rear facing infant carrier as long as their height and weight are within the seat's limitations, which are always printed on the side of the infant seat, itself.
Once they outgrow their infant carrier, you can use a "convertible" car seat. These car seats come equipped with an apparatus that allows them to be used as rear facing OR forward facing. According to crash tests, children are ALWAYS safest when they are rear facing.
After your child can safely ride in a booster seat, while using the shoulder and lap safety belts in your car, you may think that it is safe to count down until their 8th birthday when you will finally be free of car seats forever. NOT SO FAST! Many 8 year olds are not ready to ride in a car without a booster seat, even though they have reached that mythical "magic" age. If your child still weighs less than 80 pounds or is shorter than 4'9", they are still safest in a booster seat, regardless of their age! You may be shocked to discover that 3 of the 4 children below can not SAFELY ride in a car without a booster seat.