Bringing Your Baby Home
Car Seat Safety
It is required by law that parents have an appropriate rear-facing car seat in which to take their baby home from the hospital.
The National Highway Safety Administration offers inspections to ensure your car seat is properly installed. To find a child safety seat inspection location near you,Click here.
You can choose either an infant-only seat, or a convertible seat.
- Are small and can be removed from the car to double as an infant carrier or, sometimes, a stroller
- Depending on the model, can be used until your infant reaches 22 to 35 pounds
(check the manual for exact specifications for your model).
- Can be used rear-facing and then converted to a forward-facing seat for older children, up to the age of four years
- Are bulkier and do not double as a carrier
- Restrains the child with either a five-point harness system, or a tray-like shield.
Whichever model you choose, be sure to:
- Only use a rear-facing seat until your child reaches at least the age of one year and weighs at least 20 pounds.
- Never install your car-safety seat in the front seat of a car.
- Read the manual carefully to be sure the seat is properly installed. Many local police departments offer periodic car safety checks. Contact your local police department to find out if they have one scheduled. Click here for the American Academy of Pediatrics car-seat safety checklist .
- Avoid used car seats. They may not be up to current safety standards and may not come with a manual. Also, it is hard to tell if a used car seat has been involved in a recall or an accident, in which case it will not be safe to use.
- Practice using the car seat before you bring your infant home.
For more information on car seat safety, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics car seat information page.