St. Louis Children’s Hospital offers the following guidelines for keeping your baby safe while she is riding in a vehicle. Also, it is important to read your safety seat instructions, as well as your vehicle owner’s manual for installation directions.
- A rear-facing infant seat is designed for infant use. It is important for the safety seat to be placed in the back seat and for the seat to face the rear of the vehicle in order to support the infant’s head, neck and body.
- According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), infants must remain rear-facing until they reach at least 20 pounds AND age 1. The safest practice is to leave your child rear-facing even beyond these minimum recommendations.
- Most infant seats will accommodate weights up to 20-22 pounds. When your infant’s weight or height exceeds the seat’s limits, child passenger safety experts recommend the use of a convertible seat that rear-faces to a higher weight and height. Most convertible seats rear-face up to 35 pounds or 36 inches and should be used in this position until your child reaches one of these limits. In the rear-facing position, the harness straps should be through slots that are at or below your child's shoulders.
- Routine use of the safety seat can change its position, so it is important to check your baby’s safety seat regularly even after a professional check. By staying current on the subject and paying attention to your child’s changing needs, you have the power to greatly reduce your child’s chances of serious or fatal injury in a car crash. The best seat is one that fits your child, fits your vehicle and is used properly and consistently.
St. Louis Children's Hospital performs free car seat inspections at Safety Stop. Appointments are available at three locations:
Call 314.454.KIDS (5437) or toll-free 800.678.KIDS (5437) to make an appointment.