Table 1.

Essential Principles for Child Passenger Safety

ConsiderationImplication
Air bags are dangerous to childrenChildren <13 years old should ride in the rear seat.
Infants should ride rear-facing until they are at least 1 year old and weigh at least 20 poundsParents of infants who approach 20 pounds before they are 1 year old should select and use convertible seats that allow rear-facing to higher weights.
Adjustments must be made when convertible seats are changed from rear- to forward-facing.Parents must consult the manufacturer instructions to determine necessary changes to harness straps, recline angles, and seat belt routing when seat is changed from rear- to forward-facing.
Safety seats must be secure in the vehicle and the child must be secure in the seat.Parents must select a seat that can be safely secured in their vehicle and follow instructions of car seat and vehicle manufacturer for correct installation.
Children are safer in child safety seats as long as they fit (about 80 pounds).Parents should be counseled to use child safety seats to the highest weight allowed for the seat and then booster seats until children reach 60–80 pounds.