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How to Buckle Up a Small Child

1.

Be sure that your car has a seatbelt (lap belt and shoulder belt) for every child you will be transporting.

2.

Read the instructions for your vehicle's seatbelt system, as well as those for child safety seats and booster seats, for proper installation and use.

3.

Install a rear-facing infant seat in the back seat for children under 1 year old who weigh less than 20 lbs. Children of this age who weigh over 20 lbs should be secured in a seat approved for heavier infants.

4.

Install a toddler seat for children who are at least 1 year old and weigh less than 40 pounds.

5.

Set up a booster seat for children who are 4 to 8 years old and weigh between 35 and 80 pounds (or are at least 35 inches tall). A booster seat raises the child so that the vehicle's lap and shoulder belts will fit him or her snugly.

6.

Children under 12, whether in a safety seat or not, should be put in the back seat of the vehicle and properly restrained, using both the lap belt and the shoulder belt.

7.

Move the front seat as far away from the dashboard as possible if the car has no back seat, and restrain the child as appropriate to his or her weight, height and age.

8.

Even after careful installation, check each time you buckle up to make sure that straps are not twisted, buckles are fully locked and your child is restrained securely.

Tips and Warnings

  • If your vehicle has only lap belts, you can have shoulder belts installed by a dealer or repair facility.
  • Read the instructions for your vehicle's seatbelt system, as well as those for child safety seats and booster seats, for proper installation and use.
  • Even after careful installation, check each time you buckle your child up that he or she is properly restrained, taking care that straps are not twisted and buckles are locked.
  • You can have airbag switches installed, which allow you to turn off airbags when you have children in the car. To have this done, you'll need to fill out an authorization form with the NHTSA.
  • Children should be placed in the back seat away from air bags, which can cause injury or death.
  • If you are not sure what safety equipment to use for your child, consult your pediatrician.

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