Car travel should be a safe and pleasant time for you and your baby. By law, infants and children must ride in crash-tested, child restraints. Never ride with your child on your lap, in a portable crib or in a car bed. Make sure the car safety seat you select fits your child – a smaller child could slip out of a seat that is too large.
In cold weather, instead of a bulky snowsuit, dress the baby in a lightweight jacket and hat and tuck a blanket around the baby for warmth. Never allow your sleeping baby's head to be covered with a blanket (or comforter or quilt) in bed or in a car safety seat. Pillows, blankets, and stuffed toys could cause a baby to suffocate or strangle.
If your child outgrows the child safety seat before his or her first birthday, use a convertible car seat in the rear-facing position. For kids who are more than a year old or kids who weigh between 20 and 40 pounds, you will need a forward-facing car seat. 3-in-1 seats can be used 3 ways: rear-facing, forward-facing, or as a booster seat for older children. This kind of safety seat may be used longer by your child, but it is larger than an infant seat and does not have carrying handles.
Read the directions that came with the seat or ask your healthcare provider when to switch to a toddler safety seat. Your child should continue to use a child safety seat until she is about 8 to 10 years old. Booster seats are available for children who are more than 4 years of age.
It is against the law for a child to ride in the car without being securely buckled into a safety seat. It is against the law because it is very, very dangerous. Please do what is best for your child —use a safety seat during every car ride.
For more information, see the Child Passenger Safety section on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Web site: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov