Car Seat Safety

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of children ages 2 to 14, and every year, many children are injured in crashes. So how can you help a child in your car travel safely? Use a properly installed child safety seat, booster seat or the vehicle seat belt every time a child rides in your vehicle.

The University of Vermont Children's Hospital Child Passenger Safety Program offers car seat inspections, education and outreach. Call (802) 847-1215 to schedule an inspection or for more information about our program.

Correct Car Seat Use

For maximum child passenger safety, simply remember and follow these Four Stages for all kids, in every vehicle! (Photos courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Stage 1: Rear-Facing Seats

Use rear-facing seats for infants and toddlers until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer. Never place a rear-facing seat in front of an active airbag.

Stage 2: Forward-Facing Seats

Use forward-facing car seats for children until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer. Always use a top tether with a forward-facing car seat.

Stage 3: Booster Seats

Use belt-positioning booster seats for children under 8 years old who have reached the forward-facing limits for their harnessed car seat. Always use a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt – never a lap-only belt.

Stage 4: Seat Belts

Use the seat belt when a child is at least 8 years old and the seat belt fits them correctly. All children younger than 13 years should ride in the back seat. Make sure you and everyone else in the car buckles up, too.

Car Seat Safety Resources

Always refer to your car seat manual and vehicle owner’s manual for specific information about your car seat or booster. To learn more about child passenger safety, refer to the following helpful resources.

Car Seat Safety Blog Posts

Car Seat Harnessing and Installation Videos

Car Seat Safety: Installation
Car Seat Safety: Harnessing

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Other Car Seat Information