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Things to think about when buying a family car Use of belts and tethers Safety Seats Place your child in a safe spot Choose a child safety seat that fits your child’s age and size A lap-and-shoulder seat belt once the adult seat belt fits properly. A belt-positioning booster seat until an adult seat belt fits properly. This means the shoulder belt lies across the chest, the lap belt lies on the upper thighs, and the child is tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with legs bent at the knees and feet hanging down — usually around 4 foot 9 inches. A forward-facing seat with harness until your child is too tall or too heavy for the seat. This is usually when the ears reach the top of the seat or the child weighs 40 pounds — check the seat instructions to be sure. A rear-facing seat until your child is at least 1 year and at least 20 pounds. If an older child must ride in the front seat, move the vehicle seat back as far as it can go, away from the airbag. Pick the child who is most likely to sit in the proper position; this may be a child in a forward- facing child safety seat. Be sure the child is in the right safety seat or booster seat for his age and size. Never place an infant in a rear-facing seat in the front seat with an active airbag. Plan ahead. Never transport more children than there are seat belts in your vehicle. Always use the top tether of a forward-facing safety seat. If your vehicle has LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), you may want to use it to install your child safety seat. LATCH is usually in the rear side seats. The rear center seat may have a lap-only belt. A lap-only belt can be used for a child safety seat but never for a belt-positioning booster seat and preferably not for children big enough to use the seat belt alone. Use lap-and-shoulder belts for children in booster seats and for older children
using the seat belt alone. These belts can also be used to install a child safety seat. Read the car owner’s manual to learn about its safety features — especially for used cars. Is there an airbag on/off switch? A child with special healthcare needs who must ride in the front seat for medical reasons needs a
vehicle with an airbag on/off switch set in the “off ” position. Does the vehicle have safety features such as lap-and-shoulder seat belts in the rear-center seat, adjustable shoulder belts in the rear side seats, built-in child safety seats or LATCH? Is it a safe car for families? Compact pickup trucks and sports cars are not good family cars. Will your safety seats fit in the car? Not all safety seats fit in all vehicles and all seating positions. What type and how many safety seats or seat belts will you need? Tips to Make Your Child Safer in a Crash