Using a child safety seat (car seat) is the best protection you can give your child when traveling by car. Every state in the United States requires that an infant or small child be restrained — and with good reason. Child safety seats can reduce the risk of a potentially fatal injury substantially for babies in particular and also for toddlers. But many safety seats are used incorrectly.
When choosing any car seat, following some general guidelines will help ensure your child's safety. The best car seat is not always the most expensive one — it's the one that best fits a child's weight, size, and age, as well as your vehicle.
Once you select a seat, be sure to try it out, keeping in mind that store displays and illustrations might not show the correct usage. It's up to you to learn how to install a car safety seat properly and harness your child for the ride.
If you need help installing your safety seat or would like a technician to check whether you've installed it properly, the federal government has set up child seat inspection stations across the country.
Also, many local health departments, public safety groups, hospitals, law enforcement agencies, and fire departments have technicians or fitting stations to assist parents. (If you go to one of these locations, be sure to ask for a certified child child passenger safety technician to assist you.)