Here is a checklist from for making sure your children are always in the proper seat/restraint system:

Car seat Checklist for All Ages

Use this checklist of car seat tips to make sure your child is riding as safely as possible in your vehicle.


From Birth to Age 2+

  • place child in the back seat every ride
  • use an infant seat or a convertible seat
  • seat always faces the rear of the vehicle (infant seats with handles always face the rear) 1
  • car seat (or infant seat base) moves less than 1″ when you tug at the belt path
  • use the belt path under the child’s thighs on a convertible car seat
  • chest clip is at arm pit level
  • use the harness slots at or below the shoulders
  • harness is snug at all times, even on infant seats used as carriers in stores and restaurants
  • buckle *all* the buckles, not just the chest clip
  • nothing between child and car seat/harness straps (no thick coats and blankets go on top, after child is harnessed)
  • outgrown when child reaches weight limit OR when head is within 1″ of top of car seat
  • switch to rear-facing convertible after infant seat and use until head is within 1″ of top of rear-facing car seat (read car seat owner’s manual)
  • feet touching back seat is not a reason to turn forward (broken legs are actually more common for forward-facing children)
  • Next step:convertible car seat or rear-facing weight limit is reached




Forward-Facing: from Age 2+ to Age 4+

  • place child in the back seat every ride
  • always rear-facing in the vehicle to maximum limits of rear-facing convertible seat first
  • use a forward-facing car seat (infant seats with handles cannotbe used forward-facing)
  • car seat is upright with nothing underneath it
  • use the harness slots at or above the shoulders
  • chest clip is at armpit level
  • harness is snug at all times
  • buckle *all* the buckles, not just the chest clip
  • car seat moves less than 1″ when you tug at the belt path
  • use the forward-facing belt path behind the child’s back
  • seat is outgrown when: tops of ears are above top of seat OR maximum weight limit is reached OR shoulders are above top harness slots
  • Next step:car seat with higher weight harness or belt-positioning booster seat for child over age 4 AND 40 lbs.


Belt-Positioning Booster: from Over Age 4 AND 40 lbs. to Age 9-11

  • place child in the back seat every ride
  • use a car seat with a higher weight limit harness (manufacturers: Britax, Cosco/Safety 1st, Diono, Evenflo, Graco, Orbit, Recaro, Safe Traffic System)
  • use a belt positioning booster seat with a lap/shoulder seat belt until the Safety Belt Fit Test is passed, which happens around ages 9-11 2
  • high back boosters provide good support and head protection for everyone and feel more like a car seat, which is good for younger kids transitioning to a booster
  • Lap/shoulder belts must be used with booster seats; no lap-only belts. A center seating position isn’t safest if it has a lap-only belt because there’s no upper body restraint.
  • seat belt should fit child properly in booster: shoulder belt squarely over shoulder or slightly closer to neck, lap belt low and touching top of thighs
  • if your big kid balks at sitting on a booster, look at the Safety 1st Incognito Kid Positioner–it’s designed to look like the vehicle seat
  • kids should always wear a seat belt on the way to and from school, no matter the distance; backpacks belong on the floor or in the trunk area
  • Next step:vehicle lap/shoulder seat belt


Vehicle Lap/Shoulder Seat Belt: from Age 9+

  • back seat is the safest place to ride, but at around age 13 kids can start riding up front (airbags can kill before then)
  • child should ride in a booster seat until the child is around 4 feet 9 inches tall and 80 lbs. and all steps of the Safety Belt Fit Test are passed, then he can ride in a lap/shoulder belt

Safety Belt Fit Test

  1. Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
  2. Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
  3. Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
  4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
  5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?


According to our surveys, Clark County has a misuse rate of over 98%. These tips don’t replace a visit to one of our free events—come let us show you how to install your own car seat and make sure your child is riding safely!


1 The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat (CSS) until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of their CSS.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends rear-facing through age 3.

2 Nevada law states that children must ride in appropriate child restraints until 6 years of age and 60 lbs.; however, children won’t fit the vehicle seat belt correctly to not suffer injury in a crash until the above 5-step test is passed, which happens around ages 9-11. Booster seats are the safest way to make sure your child is restrained when he has outgrown his car seat but is too small for the vehicle seat belt alone.