Child Safety Seats
Using the Right Restraint to Save Kids' Lives
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children age four to 14. Keeping children safe on the road means putting them in the right restraint at the right age. Child Passenger Safety Technicians in Baltimore County are working to make sure parents and child care providers know and follow every one of the four Steps for Kids, including the essential booster seat step that is often missed.
Securing your child in the right restraint for their age every time they ride in a motor vehicle is one of the most important things you can do to protect your child.
The Four Steps for Kids
The four steps for child safety seats are:
- Rear-facing infant seats
- Forward-facing toddler seats
- Booster seats
- Safety belts
Children under 12 should always ride in the back seat. Learn about the different car seat types.
Step 1: Infants
Step 2: Toddlers and Children
Step 3: Big Kids Who Need a Boost
Children from about age four and 40 pounds until at least age eight, or four feet and nine inches tall, should use a booster seat.
While most infants and toddlers ride in the correct child safety seat, less than 10 percent of the children who should be in booster seats use one. A booster seat lifts a child up so a safety belt can fit correctly. Without a booster seat, in a crash, a small child can be ejected from a vehicle.
Step 4: About Age Eight and Older
Children who are at least four feet and nine inches tall, usually about eight years old are safest in the back seat. Children younger than 13 years should never ride in a front seat equipped with an air bag. Generally, experts recommend that children be 100 pounds and about 5 feet tall before riding in the front.
Learn how to properly use lap-shoulder seat belts.
Car Seat Checks
For more information, or to find out how you can have your child safety seat checked, please call the Baltimore County Police Department at 410-887-8717, or visit one of our car seat checks.
Nearly every car seat and most vehicles manufactured since September 1, 2002, are required to use the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system. This system makes it easier to get a child seat installed correctly.
Find resources about car seats:
- Child Passenger Safety Fact Sheet from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
- Safety Belt Safe U.S.A.
Revised July 6, 2015
Revised April 6, 2016