The newest addition to the family is precious cargo and this requires investing in the right means of transportation. With all the different car seat options out there, there are multiple ways to ensure ultimate car seat safety for all infants, toddlers, and older children. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends four ways of cruising depending on the age of the child: in a rear facing seat, a front facing one, a booster, and of course, with a traditional seatbelt strapped over the shoulder.
Under the age of one, car seats should face the rear since this is the safest way to travel for the youngest of infants. In fact, if they are compliant, kids should ride facing the rear as long as possible: Until they are about three years old or until they outgrow the car seat. Although babies outgrow rear facing car seats by the time they are eight or nine months old, convertible or all-in-one car seats can be adjusted as they grow.
Forward-facing car seats typically have a harness and tether and babies can start to face the front by their first birthday. Kids should continue to ride in either a rear or forward facing car seat at least until the age of three, at which point they can be switched to a booster seat. If kids are small in size, they should continue to be placed in a car seat until the age of seven or until they outgrow the forward facing seat. Combination seats can be converted from a forward facing car seat to a booster seat. Kids should ride in booster seats until they are big enough for a seat belt to fit snugly across the upper thighs and across the chest.