Car seat requirements and recommendations

Alabama parents, grandparents, teachers and childcare providers need to understand and know many things to help keep infants and children safe at home and when out and about. One of the things that is important is protecting children riding in vehicles in the event of an accident. Just what is required or recommended for the use of child safety seats?

The state of Alabama does legally require the use of infant seats, child seats, booster seats and seat belts and outlines the ages or weights for each. According to CPS Alabama, failure to comply with these laws may result in fines and even points on a person’s driver’s license record. Infants should be in rear-facing seats in the back seat of vehicles until they are 12 months old or 20 pounds. At this point, they may ride in forward facing car seats until they are five years old or 40 pounds. Booster seats must be used until age six at which time kids must wear seat belts until the age of 15.

While certainly following the state’s guidelines will ensure people comply with the law, the American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends further precautions be taken to protect babies, toddlers and older kids.

The AAP indicates that rear-facing seats for babies be used for the first 24 months at which time the transition to five-point harness car seats can be made. These seats should be used until children reach the maximum weight allowed which may be around four years old. The AAP also recommends children then ride in booster seats until eight or when a vehicle’s seat belts fit appropriately. This includes the shoulder belt fitting on the actual shoulder, not on the child’s neck. They should also remain in the back seat until 13 years of age.

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