Child Car Seat Safety

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If you are a new patient seeking prenatal care, please call 310-794-7274. If you are an established patient and need to reach labor and delivery, call 310-825-9111 for Westwood or 424-259-9250 for Santa Monica.

Child Car Seat Safety

Many young children are hurt every year while riding in cars. A simple way to prevent injuries is to use car seats and seat belts correctly.

If you’re a new parent, it’s important to learn how to install your baby’s car seat. If you’re not sure you’re doing it correctly, get help.

Car Seat Safety Guidelines

Follow these recommended safety guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

  • Premature infants should have car seat tests before they leave the hospital to make sure they are safe sitting in a semi-reclined position.
  • Babies and toddlers must ride in the back seat. Front airbags could injure or kill them.
  • It’s OK to place rolled blankets on both sides of an infant so they fit snugly in the car seat and to add a diaper or light blanket under the baby’s crotch strap.
  • Toddlers (ages 1 – 2) must ride in rear-facing car seats, following the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.
  • Always adjust the car seat so your child’s head does not bend forward.
  • Infants and toddlers should ride in rear-facing car seats until age 2 or until they reach 40 inches tall or weigh 40 pounds. Make sure the car seat meets the rear-facing height and weight requirements.
  • Do not dress your baby in heavy layers while in the car. Bulky clothes like winter coats and snowsuits could be dangerous in case of a crash.

Avoid these common car seat mistakes:

  • All children should ride in the back seat until age 13.
  • Do not switch to a forward-facing seat too early.
  • Never use a pre-owned car seat.
  • Make sure the car seat is installed correctly. Follow directions carefully and make sure it fits snugly.

For more information, visit Healthy Children.

Car Seat Installation Help

Need help safely installing your baby’s car seat? Contact any of the resources below for help with proper installation.

When possible, install your car seat during your final weeks of pregnancy. Before bringing your baby home from the hospital, practice how to use the car seat and straps. Keep in mind that UCLA Health personnel are not allowed to help secure your baby in the seat when you go home from the hospital.