The 9 Car Seat Rules Every Parent Needs to Be Following

Updated: Jul. 11, 2017

Choosing the right car seat for your child can be confusing. Ensure your child’s safety by following these tips.

Aleph Studio/shutterstock

Get it from a store with trained staff

The CDC reported that your child’s risk of getting severely injured or dying in a car accident is reduced by 71% when in a properly fitted and secure car seat. Always purchase your car seat at a store with staff that are properly trained to fit a car seat to your car. Having the car seat fit well into your car is just as important as having your child fit safely into the car seat. The staff should come out to your car and assist you in making sure the car seat works with your car. You can also read your cars owner manual to get a better idea of what will fit in your car and exactly how you are supposed to install it. Also watch out for these shockingly common parenting mistakes that can put your child at risk.

Joana Lopes/shutterstock

Take into account how your child fits

The most important factors when fitting your child for a car seat are their height, weight, and age. Height and weight are much more important than age though. Even if your child meets the age requirement for a different type of carseat, don’t transition them until they weigh enough. Try out these parent control apps to keep your kids safe.


It shouldn’t move

You may bounce around a lot when you have to drive over those endless potholes on your road, but your baby shouldn’t be. If it’s wiggly, it’s not safe. Test it yourself by pushing it around before trusting it to protect your child on the road. These are toxic things you’ve been feeding to your kid.

Africa Studio/shutterstock

Check the fit often

Make sure that you check the car seat every few weeks to see if it needs to be tightened. With all of the adjusting and taking it in and out of the car that you do, it’s bound to become a little loose over time.

Anastasiia Fedorova/shutterstock

Car seat first, then stroller

The car seat is much much more important than the stroller. If possible pick out a car seat first and then chose a compatible stroller.

Africa Studio/shutterstock

Stick to new

Never buy a second-hand car seat. It may have been involved in an accident and therefore be unsafe.


Use the two finger test

Check to make sure the shoulder harness snugly fits your growing child every couple of weeks by sliding two fingers under the straps. You should not be able to get more than two fingers between the straps and your child’s chest.


Choose a seat with two clips

Kids are squirmy, and you don’t want them to be able to unbuckle the car seat themselves. Choose a car seat with two-piece retainer clips; they’re much more difficult for a child to unfasten.

Nor Gal/shutterstock

Pay attention to the fabric

Choose a car seat with fabric that is easy to clean. Also, getting a darker pattern or fabric can hide stains better. Kids eat, drink, and throw up in their car seats so you definitely want to be able to clean it easily.