Car Seat Selection: Proper Fit for your Child and Vehicle

Recommendations provided by the National Child Passenger Safety Certification Program (NHTSA).

Select the child restraint that is right for the child's weight, height, physical development and behavioral needs. Select a child restraint with multiple harness positions and a short crotch strap to offer many options for a small but rapidly growing infant.

Children grow quickly, so be sure to check your child restraint regularly for the proper fit.

Checklist for Proper Fit for your Child:

  • Appropriate for weight and height of the child according to child restraint instructions
  • Infant's back and bottom are flat in the child restraint
  • Harness straps on rear-facing seats are at or below the shoulders
  • Harness straps on forward-facing seats are at or above the shoulders
  • Harness is snug (see below)
  • Harness chest clip at the armpit level
  • Crotch strap position that fits best
  • Did you Test your Child's Harness?
  • The Pinch Test
  • At your child's shoulder, try to pinch the webbing up and down. Your fingers should slide off.
  • Proper Fit for your Vehicle:
  • Not every child restraint will fit into every vehicle
  • Consider the vehicle seat type and size (contoured, bench, captain, etc.)

Many retail outlets will allow parents to try out a child restraint in their vehicle in the store parking lot