There are so many changes in child safety seats nationwide that it is often difficult to know what is the “right” thing to do for your child.  Here’s a great site that shows you EXACTLY where your child should be, carseat-wise.

Visit boosterseat.gov to read the latest regulations on car safety seats.  You can even use their “quick check” on the left margin to enter your child’s age, height and weight and find the ideal seat for your child!

As it turns out, my kids are actually within the recommendations.  My son (just turned 8) is about to relinquish the booster as he is 52 inches tall and weighs over 70 pounds.  And my younger son – 2.5 years – is right at the cusp of changing into a booster seat.

Something this website does not point out is a little number called the EXPIRATION DATE.  Car seats are only rated for 5 years of use; standards change, materials change, and to keep your child the safest, it is best to heed these dates.  Pay attention to these dates (my younger son’s seat has recently expired, so thank goodness I was going to have to buy him a new one anyway for his next step up!).

Children should ALWAYS be  buckled into a car safety seat unless they are old enough and big enough to do without.  And, once they reach the point that they can leave the booster seat behind and seat in the “regular” seat, make sure they are still buckling up, as you should be, too.  In our house, the car does not leave the driveway unless all the seatbelts are buckled.  Please pay attention to the recommended seats for your children.  That’s our world’s future you’re buckling back there.