Selecting and Installing the Right Seat

Keeping kids safe in the car is one of our most important jobs as parents and caregivers.

  • Car crashes are a leading cause of death and injury for all kids. Proper use of car seats helps keep children safer in the event of a crash.  
  • Car seats reduce the risk of injury by 71 percent to 82 percent and reduce the risk of death by 28 percent in comparison to children in seat belts alone.   
  • Booster seats reduce the risk of nonfatal injuries in a crash by 45 percent among 4 to 8 year olds.

The type of seat your child needs depends on several things, including your child’s age and size and the type of vehicle you have.​

Rear facing car seat should be used from birth to 3 yrs old. Foward Facing car seat can be used from 1-7 yrs old. Booster seat can be used from 4-12 yrs old. Seat belt used 8+ yrs old. Depend on the height and weight is which option to use for car seat.
  • Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, and choose a seat that fits in your vehicle, and use it every time.​
  • Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions (check height and weight limits) and read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or lower anchors and a tether, if available.
  • To maximize safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.
  • The back seat is the safest place for your child; keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.​

Birth–12 Months

  • Your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. 
  • Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing.
  • Convertible and all-in-one car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.

1–3 Years

  • Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. 
  • Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer. 
  • Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether.

Learn about the different types of car seats

Find a car seat

See installation videos

1–3 Years

  • Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. 
  • Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer. 
  • Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether.

4–7 Years

  • Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer. 
  • Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.

Learn about the different types of car seats

Find a car seat

See installation videos

4–7 Years

  • Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer. 
  • Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat. 
  • Massachusetts state law requires that your child be secured in a federally approved belt-positioning booster seat until 8 years of age or over 57” tall. 

Learn about the different types of car seats

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8–12 Years​

  • Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. 
  • For a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. 
  • The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not across the neck or face. 
  • Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat because it’s safer there.​

Learn about the different types of car seats

Find a car seat

See installation videos