Best Practices for Children Passengers

Tips for "best practices" when driving with children as passengers:
  • Always wear your lap and shoulder belt when driving - it protects you in case of a crash and it sets a good example for children.
  • Children 1 to 4 years and 20 to 40 pounds should ride in a forward-facing child seat.
  • Children 12 and younger should never sit in the front seat. The safest seating position is in the back seat, away from air bags if possible.
  • Children 13 years of age or older should ride in the front seat, but should position their seat as far back as possible from the air bag.
  • Children who are over 57 inches and 80 pounds, typically around 8 years of age, are ready to use just a safety belt.
  • Children who have outgrown a child safety seat, typically when they are over 40 pounds and 5 years of age, should transition to a booster seat which assists in the proper fit of a safety belt.
  • Children from birth to 1 year and less than 20-22 pounds should be in a rear-facing infant seat. It is safest to have these seats in the back seat and away from air bags.

Proper Child Safety Seat Use Chart

Criteria Infants Birth to 1 Year
Toddlers Over 1 Year
Young Children Ages 4 - 8
Weight Up to 20 to 22 pounds Over 20 but less than 40 pounds Over 40 pounds unless they are 4 foot, 9 inches tall or taller
Type of Car Seat
Infant Only or Rear-Facing Convertible Convertible/Forward-Facing Belt Positioning Booster Seat
Seat Position
Rear-Facing only Forward-Facing Forward-Facing
Strap/Belt Position
Harness straps at or below shoulder level. Harness straps should be at our above the shoulders.

Most seats require top slot for forward-facing.
Belt positioning booster seats must be used with both lap and shoulder belt.

Make sure the lap belt fits low and tight across lap/upper-thigh area and the shoulder belt fits snug across the chest and shoulder to avoid abdominal injuries.
Warning: All children age 12 and under should ride in the back seat.