Select and Install a Car Seat

Excerpted from The Experts' Guide to the Baby Years: 100 Things Every Parent Should Know

Jennifer Huebner is a certified child passenger safety instructor and manager of Traffic Safety Programs for AAA, North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization.

Now is the time to make your vehicle safe for Baby with a properly installed child safety restraint. Regrettably, vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death for children in America. This is not only an immense tragedy but one that is — in many cases — preventable. When used correctly, car seats are effective in reducing injuries and fatalities for infants and toddlers.

Selecting a Car Seat
Naturally, you want to choose the seat that will be the safest for your child. The good news is that all child safety seats on the market are required to meet the same federal motor vehicle safety standards. When selecting the perfect seat, choose one that fits your child, your vehicle, and your budget.

It is important to always read the child safety seat manufacturer's instructions and your vehicle owner's manual to determine the correct location and proper installation procedures for your vehicle. In the United States approximately eight out of ten car seats are installed improperly. The most common mistakes are seats that are not installed tightly, harness straps that are too loose, and harness retainer clips that are not at the proper level.

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