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Buckle Up Your Sprout –
Safety Tips About Car Seats

So you’re preparing for the arrival of your sprout and you realize that you need a car seat.  We at are here to help with rough guidelines for protecting your sprout in automobiles.

The guidelines for car seat usage is as follows:

infants under 20 lbs and 1 year old:
a.  you will need to have a rear-facing infant seat or convertible seat. 
b.  straps must be placed in the lower slots, at or below should level.

toddlers 20-40 lbs and older than 1 year (since sprouts grow so fast)
a.  use forward-facing booster seat with car’s lap and shoulder seat belt
b.  place shoulder strap over shoulder, snug across chest
c.  place lap belt low and tight on hips, not over stomach

To help you get off to a safe start, safety experts, along with Graco Children’s Products, offer the following installation tips:

1.  Do your homework.  Make sure the infant car seat you choose is the proper fit for your car.  Test it in your car before you make a purchase.  Most retail outlets will allow you to take the seat out to your car to ensure it is the correct size.

2.  After making your selection, read your safety seat and vehicle owner’s manual to make sure you understand the mechanics of installing the seat.  If the information isn’t clear, call the automaker, the safety-seat manufacturer, or both.

3.  The safest place to install a car seat is in the center of the rear seat or in the center seat in a van or station wagon.  Never place a rear-facing seat in the front seat of a car equipped with an air bag.

4.  Make sure the car’s seat belt is threaded through the correct seat belt path.  All new car seats that are equipped with a harness come with a locking clip.  To determine if you need to use the locking clip, read your vehicle owner’s manual and your safety seat manual.

5.  Check to make sure the seat is secure and resists side-to-side motion.  To assure your seat is secure, place your hands on either side of the seat at the opening for the belt path and attempt to move the seat forward or side-to-side.  If the seat is loose, kneel into the base or put your body weight into the seat and then secure it.  A correctly installed seat will not move forward or to either side.

6.  Make sure you know how the harness system works.  The harness clip should be positioned at armpit level.  To make sure the harness straps are tight enough, remove the child’s bulky clothing and make sure you can fit no more than an index finger between the straps and your child’s shoulders.

Need More Help?

For more information about child safety seats, safety laws, seat installation tips and safety seat checkups, contact the following groups:

SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A.: (310) 222-6860 or (800) 745-SAFE or visit

National Safety Belt Coalition (part of the National Safety Council):

If you call any of the agencies or organizations for information or help on installing a safety seat, you’ll need to provide the following information:
your name, mailing address; age and weight of child; manufacturer name, model name, manufacturer model number and manufacturer date for each safety seat; vehicle make, model, year and number of doors and air bags.

Like other consumer products, child safety seats are occasionally recalled.  Send in your safety seat registration card to be sure you’ll be notified.  You can also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Auto Safety Hotline (888) 327-4236 – or check for updated product recall information.

Need help in choosing a car seat?
Talk to your retailer and other big bellies about the variety of car seats available.




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