The instructions that come with the car seat show you how to use it correctly. 58% of car seats are installed incorrectly, so take your time and make sure that you install the seat properly. If properly installed, the seat should move less than an inch in any direction. call your local Highway Patrol office or fire station to see if they provide free car seat installation.
If you have a used car seat that is missing the instructions, your child’s doctor’s office or your local public health department should have brochures that explain the correct installation and use of car seats.
Always strap babies and children securely in car seats, and strap car seat securely into back seat. This is important even for short rides. Most accidents happen within five miles of home. Short car rides are just as dangerous as longer ones.
The law says you must use a rear-facing car seat for infants from birth until one year and 20 pounds. Always make sure that your child’s car seat is strapped into the car using the seat belt or the buckles already installed by the car manufacturer. Straps must be tight.
You may turn the car seat to a forward-facing position when your child is one year old and 20 pounds. The child remains in this car seat until four years of age and 40 pounds. At this time you will want to purchase a new car seat that’s right for your child’s age and size.
When your child is four years old and 40 pounds she may move from a forward-facing car seat to a child’s booster seat until six years old or 60 pounds. Again, it is time to update your child’s car seat.
Once the car seat is correctly installed in the car, always strap your infant or child into the car seat or booster seat. Never allow a child to sit in a car seat without the harness securely fastened. You should also use your seat belt whenever you ride in a car. This keeps you safe and also sets a good example for your children.
Parents should NEVER smoke in the car when their children are present. Smoke from your cigarette can cause health problems for your child.
—- from First5 Advice for New Parents