Infants: Birth - 35 pounds. Rear-facing infant or rear-facing convertible safety seat as long as possible,up to the rear-facing height or weight limit of the seat.
Properly install rear-facing in the back seat.
In a new policy statement published in the April 2011 issue of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics now advises parents to keep toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they exceed the height or weight limit for the car seat, which can be found on the back of the seat.
Previously, the AAP advised parents to keep kids rear-facing as long as possible, up to the maximum limit of the car seat, and this has not changed.
But it also cited one year and 20 pounds as the minimum for flipping the seat, which many parents and pediatricians interpreted as conventional wisdom on the best time to make the switch.
When children outgrow the rear-facing safety seat, they should ride in a forward-facing safety seat as long as possible, up to the upper height or weight limit (40 - 80 pounds) of the harnesses. Usually 4+ years old. Properly installed forward-facing in the back seat.
NEVER turn forward-facing before 1 year old AND 20-22 pounds.
After age 4 and 40+ pounds, children can ride in a booster seat with the adult lap and shoulder belt.
You MUST have a lap/shoulder belt to use a booster seat.
(Always read manufacturers label for weight and height restrictions).
All children younger than eight (8) years old, UNLESS taller than 4'9" need to be in child passenger safety seat system.
(“Child passenger safety seat system” includes traditional car seats with harnesses AND booster seats – both high-back and backless versions.)
Adult Safety Belt
Once children outgrow their booster seat (usually at 4'9", 100 pounds) they can use the adult safety belt if it fits them properly.
Lap portion low over the hips/tops of thighs and shoulder belt crosses the center of the shoulder and center of the chest.
Children are better protected the longer they can stay in each phase. Keep children in each seat up to the maximum age/weight/height limits before moving to the next phase.