So How Do You Choose?

When To Transition

Front Seat: Once a child reaches the age of 13, he or she is allowed to sit in the front seat provided the seat belt fits appropriately. The back seat is always the safest location for children.

​Forward-Facing: Children who have outgrown the weight or height limit of their rear-facing car seat should transition to a forward-facing seat with a harness. Keep your child in their forward-facing car seat with harness until they have outgrown the weight or height limit seat by the car seat manufacturer. Many forward-facing only seats offer the option to remove the harness once the child outgrows it and continue to use the seat as a booster with a seat belt.

The BEST car seat is the one that fits the CHILD correctly, that fits the CAR correctly, and that YOU can install correctly every time!

Seat Belt: Once a child reaches 4'9" which is often between ages 8-12, he or she can usually transition to a seat belt without the use of a booster. Always use a lap and shoulder seat belt for the best protection.

  • Every car seat rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has to meet Federal Safety Standards and strict crash performance standards. Since all car seats are safe, how do we know which one is easiest? NHTSA has created Ease of Use Ratings that involves evaluating the following categories: Evaluation of Labels, Evaluation of Instructions, Securing the Child, and Installation.​ Check NHTSA's website Parents Central at for Ease-of-Use ratings.
  • The Governor's Highway Safety Association lists each state's car seat laws. Go to to check out the Child Passenger Safety Laws.
  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety​ is a great resource to find latest crash testing information for vehicles, top safety picks, LATCH evaluations, and booster seat ratings. You can see updated information on their website at
  • On NHTSA's website, you can access Parents' Central and view all the car seats available, select a few, and compare them.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics' website ​offers a complete car seat product listing for 2016 on their page. It's a great resource to compare all the available seats and their prices too!
  • Consumer Reports created their own method of evaluating infant child safety seats. Their goal was to determine which car seats offered an extra margin of safety in certain crash conditions and rated them with a crash protection rating of "BEST", "BETTER", or "BASIC". Full ratings are available on 

Rear-Facing: Child should always ride in a rear-facing position until at least age 1. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children rear-face until at least the age of 2 or have outgrown the weight or height restrictions of their rear-facing seat. Many seats have higher rear-facing weight limits to help keep children rear-facing as long as possible!

Types Of Car Seats


Booster: Children may begin riding in a booster as early as 4 but the best practice is to keep the child using a harness as long as possible. Many car seats manufactured today have higher harness weight limits to enable growing children to remain in a harness longer before transitioning to a seat belt in the booster. 

​Booster seats help keep the child restrained safely until reaching 4'9".

​​​​There are hundreds of options of seats out there. Some of the most important things to consider when choosing a seat are the following:

  • Know your car: how do the seat belts lock, is the LATCH system available, up to what weight limit is the lower anchor approved for, is the seating position near an active air bag, will there be room for other child seats if needed?

Which Is The BEST Car Seat?


Rear-Facing: Rear-Facing Only, Convertible, 3-In-1, All-In-One

Forward-Facing: Convertible, Forward-Facing Only (Combination), 3-In-1, All-In-One

Booster: High-Back, Backless, Combination (harness removed), All-In-One (harness removed)​ 

  • Know your child: how old is your child, how tall, and how much does your child weigh?
  • Check recall lists: make sure the seat being used isn't on the recall list and if so make sure all repairs have been made according to the seat manufacturer's instructions. Go to to check recall list.
  • Check expiration dates: expiration dates range from 6-8 years and some newer seats have expiration dates up to 10 years!
  • Know the history of the seat you choose: has it been in a major collision? If so it may need to be replaced! 
  • Know your car seat: up to what weight and height can the child ride rear-facing, what weight and height can the child ride forward-facing, can LATCH be used, what is the correct recline/incline position?