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The Basics of Child Car Seats

If you haven’t yet heard about the 18-month-old who survived a car crash that left her in the car — in a river — for as many as 14 hours, you can read that here. What caught my attention was that authorities credit her car seat with helping to save her life. She stayed in it, and therefore, stayed dry.

While there are so many parent controversies that the term mommy wars actually exists, one thing is certain — car seat safety is important. Here are some resources to help guide you through the car seat maze of information.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Parents Central website has all the basic information like the different types, age and size recommendations, and directions for installation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics lays out its infant and toddler car seat recommendations here. One thing to note is the new recommendation that children should remain in rear-facing car seats until they turn two (or until they reach the car seat’s weight or height limitations.) This differs from the previously recommended one-year age limit. Studies have shown that the longer a child is rear facing, the lower the risk for injury.

For specific child car seat laws, check out your state’s website. For instance, here in Ohio,

Ohio’s children are required to use belt-positioning booster seats once they outgrow their child safety seats until they are 8 years old, unless they are at least 4 feet, 9 inches (57 inches) tall.

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