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Car Seat Safety

You can't take your newborn home from the hospital without a car seat. Plan to have the car seat at least one month before your due date so you'll have time to install it correctly and learn how to buckle the baby in safely.

All car seats for children should be placed in the back seat of the car, never in the front seat. Air bags in the front seat can cause serious injury to children. Until they reach age 13, children should always ride in the back seat.

Tips on choosing a car seat:

  • Know whether your car has a LATCH system. LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. Instead of seat belts, special anchors hold the seat in place. If your car and car seat don't have the LATCH system, you'll need to use the seat belts to install and secure the car seat.
  • Try locking and unlocking the buckles while in the store at the time of purchase. Try changing the lengths of the straps.
  • Read the labels to find out the seat's height and weight limits.

You should have your infant's car seat inspected one month before your due date. To find the nearest child safety seat inspection location to you, visit the United States Department of Transportation's child safety seat inspection station locator page.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers parents a five-star rating system on its website that's based on how easy certain car seats are to use. 

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