One of the most important purchases you'll make for your child is a car seat. He'll need to use some type of car seat until he's old enough or a certain height to use an adult seat belt safely. 

There are many car seat models and varieties. Fortunately, all car seats must meet federal safety standards in a 30 mph crash. Below, our San Diego car accident lawyer gives some tips on picking the correct car seat for your child that fits within your budget.

Child in car seat holding teddy bearPick the Right Type

There are three types of car seats: rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster. It's essential to pick the right model for your child's age and size.

In California, all children are required to be secure in a car seat or booster, positioned in the backseat of a vehicle, until they're eight years old or 4’9” tall. Here are more of our state’s requirements:

  • Children under two must ride in a rear-facing car seat until they're at least 40” tall or weigh at least 40 pounds.
  • Children can use a forward-facing car seat when they meet these weight and height requirements and the specifications of the car seat’s manufacturer.
  • A belt-positioning booster seat can be used when the child has outgrown the weight or height requirements of a forward-facing car seat.

Get a Car Seat With Features You Want

All car seats come with basic components, such as harnesses, chest clips, and buckles. However, if you want padded harnesses or other special features, it's best to purchase a car seat that has them rather than trying to add them later.

  • Read the labels. They tell you the seat's age, weight, and height limits so you can be confident the seat is right for your child.
  • Don't buy a used car seat. Don't purchase a used car seat. You don't know if it's missing parts or has been in an accident. For similar reasons, you shouldn't borrow a used car seat from someone you don't know.
  • Register your car seat. Complete the manufacturer's registration form and mail it back right away after purchasing a car seat. This ensures you receive proper notification of any safety recalls.
  • Install your car seat properly. Be sure that your car seat is installed properly. You can visit the Safe Kids site to find a certified installation technician in Southern California.  


Mark Blane
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San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer | California Car Accident Attorney
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