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One of the most important jobs you have as a parent is keeping your child safe when riding in a vehicle. Each year thousands of young children are killed or injured in car crashes. Proper use of car seats help keep children safe. 

The type of seat your child needs depends on several things, including your child's age, size, and the type of vehicle you have. This chart is a quick guide on where to start your search.. It is important to consults your vehicle's user manual, as well as your car seat manual, to ensure compatibility and proper installation.

Age Group  Type of Seat  General Guidelines 
 Infants/Toddlers Rear-facing only seats and rear-facing convertible seats  All infants and toddlers should ride in a Rear-Facing Car Seat until they are at least two (2) years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat's manufacturer 
 Toddlers/Preschoolers Convertible seats and forward-facing seats with harnesses  Any child who has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their convertible car seat should use a Forward-Facing Car Seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat manufacturer 
 School-Aged Children Booster seats  All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their car seat should use a Belt-Positioning Booster Seat until  the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age. 
 Older Children Seat belts  When children are old enough and large enough for the vehicle seat belt to fit them correctly, they should always use Lap and Shoulder Seat Belts for optimal protection. All children younger than 13 years of age should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics has developed a Car Seat Check app to help families select the proper seat for their children. The app is available on iTunes or Google Play.