Car Seat Safety

Child Passenger Safety Tips

Make sure all passengers are properly restrained every time they ride in the car. All children ages 12 and under should ride in the back seat. Be sure to read the owner's manual for both your child safety seat and your vehicle for information on proper installation.

The law in Illinois states that children 8 years old and under should ride in an appropriate car seat. If using a car seat, the child should be secured in the car seat, and the car seat should be secured tightly to the car.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its recommendation on rear-facing car seats. Infants and children should be in rear-facing child safety seats until age two, or until the uppermost height and weight limit that the child safety seat allows, as recommended by the manufacturer. It is strongly recommended that they be kept rear-facing as long as possible.

Once children have outgrown their rear-facing car seat, they should ride forward facing in a child safety seat with a harness. Children should continue to use the harness until they have reached the height and weight limits recommended by the manufacturer.

Children who have outgrown their car seat or car seat harness must be in booster seats using both the car's lap and shoulder belt. Children should be placed in a booster safety seat until they are at least 4’9” tall. This ensures that the shoulder and lap belt placement will contact the child in the right areas of the body and will not cause additional serious injury during a crash.

Child safety seats are occasionally recalled so be sure to send in the seat's registration card to be sure you will be notified. You can check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's web site at for information on recalled seats.

Car seats have expiration dates, typically four to six years after the manufacture date. Car seats can be damaged and unsafe after a collision. Therefore, it is not recommended that you purchase a seat for which the history is unknown (like at a second hand store) or isn’t properly labeled.

General Car Safety Tips

  • Teach your children that cars are not toys. Keep doors and trunks locked and make sure they do not play in or around cars
  • Always walk around the back of your car before backing up to ensure that the driveway is free of children playing
  • Never leave your child (or pet) unattended in a car, even with the window slightly open
  • Watch children around cars, particularly when getting in and out of the car
  • Firmly hold the hand of each child when walking near moving cars and when in driveways, in parking lots or on sidewalks

AAA’s generous philanthropic support funds the Child Passenger Safety program at Lurie Children’s to ensure the safety and well-being of Chicago’s children.