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1. Infants should be in rear-facing infant or convertible seats from birth to at least one year and 20 pounds.
2. Toddlers should be in forward-facing car seats or convertible seats from at least one year and 20 lbs to around four years and 40 pounds.
3. Booster seats are for children up to age six. (Height and weight recommendations vary for different seat manufacturers, so always check the seat instructions and vehicle owners manual).
4. Seat belts should be worn by all children and adults taller than 4'9" and more than 70-80 pounds.
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NHTSA recommends that child safety seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash.
Minor crashes are those that meet ALL of the following criteria:
The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site;
The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged;
There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants;
The air bags (if present) did not deploy; AND
There is no visible damage to the safety seat.
Clarifying the need for child seat replacement will reduce the number of children unnecessarily riding without a child safety seat while a replacement seat is being acquired, and the number of children who will have to ride without a child seat if a seat were discarded and not replaced. The clarification will also reduce the financial burden of unnecessary replacement.
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