Whether you plan to go on a road trip across the country or just drive around the neighborhood this summer, it’s important to put your child in a car seat that will keep them safe.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a car seat for your child:

  • What is your child’s current age and size? Make sure that your child always uses a car seat that is designed for their current age, height and weight. As young children get taller or gain more weight, they may outgrow their car seat and need a bigger one. If your child is unusually big or small for their age, or has special health circumstances, you can ask their primary care provider for advice in choosing a car seat.
  • What type of car seat does your child need? Infants from birth to age 12 months should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. Children age 1 to 3 years old should generally use a rear-facing seat, too. Children who are 4 to 7 years old should use a forward-facing seat. Some manufacturers make convertible or all-in-one car seats, which can be changed from rear-facing to forward-facing as your child gets older.
  • Does the car seat fit your vehicle? If possible, test the car seat to confirm that it fits well in the backseat of your car.
  • How do you install and use the car seat? To keep your child safe, it’s important to install the car seat correctly and make sure your child is buckled up carefully. Click over to this page for how-to videos that show how to install and use different types of car seats.

To get started in finding the right car seat for your child, check out this online Car Seat Finder, created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Just enter your child’s date of birth, height and weight to get car seat recommendations that may be right for you. Have a fun and safe summer!