Car Seat Safety

Injury Prevention Car Safety cartoonAccording to Team Educators for Child Safety (TECHS) in Pennsylvania, 9 out of 10 car seats are improperly installed. Learn how to install your child’s car seat properly. Attend a TECHS car seat safety inspection or schedule a personal appointment by calling 412-885-0266.  Learn more about the AAP Car Seat Guidelines.

Car Seat Safety Chart

Choose the appropriate car seat for your child with the guidelines below.

Under 2 years:

NEW PA LAW:

Child must be rear-facing until age 2.

Best Practice: Child can remain rear-facing after age 2, until they reach the maximum height OR weight limits of the seat.

The Harness:

  • Height must be at or below shoulder level
  • Straps must fit snugly (meaning you aren't able to pinch the webbing at shoulder level)
  • Chest clip must be at armpit level

The Car Seat:

  • Must be tightly installed with vehicle safety belt OR lower anchors
  • Shouldn't move more than one inch at the belt path
  • Must recline so infant's head doesn't fall forward (refer to recline indicator on the car seat)
  • Doesn't include products that are bought separately and not crash tested with the seat (mirror, harness pads, hanging toys, seat protector, etc) unless product is approved by car seat manufacturer. 

2 to 4 years 

Best Practice: Child should remain rear-facing in a convertible car seat after age 2 provided they meet the rear-facing requirements for height and weight limits of the car seat. Once a child is forward-facing, they should remain in a five-point harness car seat until they reach the maximum height OR weight of the seat. 

The Harness:

  • Height must be at or above shoulder level for forward-facing 
  • Straps must fit snugly (meaning you aren't able to pinch the webbing at shoulder level)
  • Chest clip must be at armpit level

The Car Seat:

  • Must be tightly installed with vehicle safety belt OR lower anchors and tether (review your LATCH system weight restrictions before installation)
  • Must be placed in an upright position for forward-facing install

Over 4 years and over 40 lbs:

PA Law: Children ages 4-8 must be in a booster

The following guidelines are allowed under the law for children who:

  • Weigh less than 40 lbs: May remain in five-point harness car seat
  • Weight more than 80 lbs, or are taller than 4 feet, 9 inches: May use vehicle safety belt without booster

Best Practice: Child should remain in five-point harness car seat until they reach the maximum height OR weight limits of the seat. After that, a highback or backless booster seat should be used until they can properly fit in a vehicle.

Booster Seats: 

  • Raise children up so that the vehicle's lap/shoulder belt fits them correctly
  • Are needed until children fit the vehicle safety belt, usually around 4 ft, 9 OR age 10-12 years old.
  • Should be buckled in when not in use to prevent unnecessary movement

Click here to download a PDF version of Car Seat Guidelines