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If your child have any special health condition or transportation needs, please contact your child's caregiver or local DMV office for appropriate information.

This product and its content serve as references and will not be held responsible for accidents that caused by incorrect use of individual products.

Please consult with your local DMV officials or product manual if you have certain conditions.

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© Car Seat ABC

Which car safety seat is the right one for your beloved little one?

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Please take the follwoing test to see how much do you know about your child(ren)'s car seats.
You can skip at any time.
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Please sort the car seats in the right order based on the age development of a child:


  • boosterseat
  • infantseat
  • seatbelt
  • toddlerseat


Check Your Answer Here!

Correct Answer

  • Infant Seat
  • Toddler Seat
  • Booster Seat
  • Seat Belt

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This is an infant car safety seat without base. Please take a look of the handle position and arrange the picutres of the order of A. Carry Mode; B. Store Mode; C. Stand Mode:


  • store
  • carry
  • stand
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When using an infant car safety seat,the harness straps should be:

strap
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Which of these car safety seats would be the best:


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you should not use a car seat that...


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Learn Car Seat Rules
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How to choose the right car safety seat for your child?

Please choose your child's age below so that we could help you find the right car seat for your child:


Or simply click on one of the the child icons below to see what type of safety seat you will need for your child

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© Car Seat ABC

Infant Safety Seat Installation General Rules


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  • Place the car seat base in the back seat of your vehicle.
  • Carefully thread the seat belt through the rear-facing belt path. Check to make sure there are no twists in the seat belt.
  • Buckle the seat belt.
  • Lock the seat belt.
  • Press down firmly on the car seat base and tighten.
  • The base should not move side-to-side or front-to-back more than 1 inch.
  • Make sure your car seat base is installed at the correct recline angle.
  • Attach the infant carrier to the base.

Installing the Car Seat Base: Before you install, read your car seat instruction manual and your vehicle's owner manual. Pay close attention to the information about your vehicle's seat belt system, and how to "lock" the seat belt. Every seat and vehicle is different, which affects the way you'll install your particular seat. Install infant seats and rear-facing convertible seats general rules: Infants should ride rear-facing until they reach the highest weIght or height allowed by their car safety seat's manufacturer. At a minimum, children should ride rear-facing until they have reached at least 1 year of age and weigh at least 20 pounds. when children reach the highest weight or length allowed by the manufacturer of their infant-only seat, they should continue to ride rear-facing an a convertible seat. Your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.

See Infant Car Seat Products Back
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© Car Seat ABC

Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat, Black

Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat, Black

About the Product

  • SafeCell impact protection is an integrated system of safety components that work together to protect your child beyond the established standards
  • SafeCell complete side impact protection surrounds your child in a deep protective shell designed to absorb crash forces and shield your child
  • SafeCell impact absorbing base reduces the potential for injury by compressing to absorb crash energy
  • SafeCell impact stabilizing steel frame gives you peace of mind knowing there is strength where you want it most, at the connection point to the vehicle
© Car Seat ABC

Toddler Safety Seat Installation General Rules


Toddler car seat:

When your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, the child should ride in a forward-facing car seat in the back seat. A forward-facing car seat has a harness and uses a top tether to limit your child's forward movement during a crash. It is best for children to ride rear-facing as long as possible to the highest weight and height allowed by the manufacturer of their convertible seat. when they have outgrown the seat rear-facing, they should use a forward-facing seat with a full harness as long as they fit.

See Toddler Car Seat Products Back
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© Car Seat ABC

Booster Safety Seat Installation General Rules


Booster seats are for older children who have outgrown their forward-facing car safety seats. children should stay in a booster seat until adult belts fit correctly (usually when a child reaches about 4’ 9” in height and is between 8 and 12 years of age). A booster seat raises and positions your child so that the vehicle's lap and shoulder belt fit properly. A booster seat keeps the lap belt from causing injury to the child's abdomen and keeps the shoulder belt in place to give the child upper body protection. In the event of a crash, an adult seat belt that does not fit a child properly can actually cause injury rather than prevent it, because it doesn't fit over the strong parts of the child’s body.

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© Car Seat ABC

Seat Belt General Rules


Children who have outgrown their booster should ride in a lap and shoulder seat belt in the back seat until 13 years of age. Please watch this video below to see what you need to pay attention when using seat belts for older children.

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© Car Seat ABC

Popular Car Seat Brands

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Where to find help:

Boulder Medical Center Broadway: 2750 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304 | (303) 440-3000

Department of Revenue CO DMV: 1750 33rd St #100, Boulder, CO | (303) 413-7710

Boulder Police Department: 1805 33rd St, Boulder, CO |(303) 441-3333

Boulder Medical Center Foothills: 4745 Arapahoe Avenue #200, Boulder, CO 80303 | (303) 938-4700

Concentra Urgent Care - Boulder: 3300 28th St, Boulder, CO 80301 | (303) 541-9090

© Car Seat ABC

About Car Seat ABC

One of the most important jobs we have as a parent is keeping our child(ren) safe when riding in a vehicle. Each year thousands of young children are killed or injured in car crashes. Proper use of car seats helps keep children safe. But it's no wonder many parents find it overwhelming with so many different car safety seats choices are there on the market. Car Seat ABC is designed for the worrying parents and includes facts and installation information for the various types of car seats, helpful tips on choosing the right car seat, frequently asked questions, safety information, and related articles. When parents enter their child's age, weight, and height, the app will provide a list of the most appropriate car seats for their child as well as links to the car seat manufacturers for more details on where and how to purchase the seat. An appropriate car seat is the right size for the child, fits the vehicle's seats and seat belt systems, and is easy for parents to use properly. In addition, it must meet all applicable federal safety standards.

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Enter feedback, questions, and comments using the form. Include an email address if you would like a response.


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Car Seat FAQ

The recommendations in this list are based on current best practice in the United States. You should carefully read the owner's manuals for your vehicle and car seat. The recommendations in the manuals should be followed if they differ from those given here.

Q1: Why should I have my child in a child restraint? Why do I need a seat belt?

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of children from ages 1 to 14. About 50% of these deaths to children under 5 involved children that were unrestrained. Of those that were restrained, misuse is reported in 80-95% of cases.  Injuries requiring hospitalization are even more common, and many involve the head, neck, and spine.  Some of these injuries are permanent. Child restraints are VERY effective for reducing deaths and injuries.

Q2: Isn't it safer to hold my baby? Won't I be safer if I don't use a seat belt and can be thrown from the car? Won't it be harder to escape after a crash if I use a seatbelt?

No.  No.  No. These are three of many myths used by people to avoid proper use of child restraints or seatbelts.  Statistics prove that those ejected in a crash are four times more likely to die.  The forces in a crash can be hundreds of pounds or much more, too great for someone to hold a child safely.  Plus, the reaction time needed in a crash makes it virtually impossible to restrain another passenger.  It is far easier to escape a vehicle if you don't suffer the serious head and chest injuries associated with crashes where seatbelts aren't used.

Q3: What are the laws for child restraints?

Laws can vary by state and municipality. See the IIHS List of State Laws for Vehicle Restraints or the Inventive Parent Carseat Laws Page.

Q4: How long should children be in a carseat?  In their seatbelts?

Children should be in an appropriate safety seat until they are about 8 years old, unless they are already 4 feet and 9 inches or taller.  After that, they should be properly seated with a lap and shoulder belt.  Children 12 and under should remain in the rear seat.  All passengers should wear lap AND shoulder belts at all times.

Q5: Does the Government give any advice?

Yes.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has many resources.  

This website is a great starting point:NHTSA: Traffic Safety, Child Passenger Safety Program

In Canada, start here: Transport Canada Child Safety

Q6: How long should a child remain rear-facing?

Why Rear-facing is Safest. Rear-Facing Carseats: What you need to know, by Kathleen Weber

Q7: When should a child be put into a booster?

Many convertible and forward-facing seats have 40 pound weight limits when using the harness.  A convertible or forward-facing seat with a 5-point harness is the safest option for children from 30-40 pounds who are not too tall for their forward-facing carseat.  If a child's shoulders are above the level of the top slots in their regular carseat, or the tops of their ears are above the top of the shell, then they may be able to move to a booster or another forward-facing seat which accommodates taller children.  Usually a child can be moved to a booster when they are too big for a harnessed carseat, and once they are able to sit properly in a seatbelt.  A child should be in some type of booster seat until around 8 years old, unless they are already 4' 9" tall (Also see Question 9 below).

Q8: My child is over 40 pounds or too tall for his carseat, but isn't mature enough to sit in a seatbelt with a booster.  Are there any options?

There are a few Forward-Facing and Specialty Models for this situation.  First are the Britax Boulevard, Marathon and Decathlon convertibles with 65 pound front-facing limits. There is also the Britax Regent, with an 80 pound harness limit, though a top-tether is required for above 50 pounds. Next is the Graco Nautilus, a combination booster with a 65 pound harness limit. Other models like the Cosco Apex also have a 65 pound harness.  There are also some discontinued models that can still be found online or at ebay, such as the Britax Husky (up to 80 pounds in a harness). You may also use a Safe Traffic Systems RideSafer Vest or E-Z-ON Kid-Y harness/booster.

Q9: When can my child be in a regular seatbelt without a booster?

Children are not ready to be in a regular lap/shoulder seatbelt until:

  

 * They are tall enough so that their legs bend at the knees at the edge of the seat; and    * They are mature enough to remain seated with their backs flat against the back of the seat and not slouch; and    * The lap belt sits high on the thighs or low on the hips (NOT on their tummy!); and    * The shoulder belt crosses the shoulder and chest (NOT on their arms or neck!); and Each passenger must have their own lap and shoulder belt!  Never allow children to share a seatbelt.

Some organizations will also give limits like 80 or 100 pounds, 4'9" in height or 8 years old. These are rough guidelines, not absolute limits.  The criteria above are most important.

Q10: What is the safest carseat?

There is no single safest child safety seat for all children and vehicles.  The safest seat is one that fits your child, fits your vehicle and one you will use correctly each and every time.  Please also see:

Guide to Carseat Basics on Selection and Use

Q11: How can I find out if my carseat has been recalled?

There is a very good recall list here (Adobe PDF format): SafetyBeltSafe Recall List Or here: NHTSA Recall List Or call the NHTSA at: 1-800-424-9393 1-888-DASH-2-DOT Or Seatcheck at 1-866-SEATCHECK

Q12: How do I contact the manufacturer of my carseat or vehicle?

First, check your owner's manual or the labels on the carseat.  This website also has a very thorough contact list: SafetyBeltSafe Carseat Manufacturer Contact List Carseat Manufacturer Websites: Angel Guard | Baby Trend | Britax | Century | Columbia Medical | Learning Curve (Compass, The First Years | Dorel (Cosco, Safety 1st, Eddie Bauer) | E-Z On | Evenflo | Fisher Price | Gerry (Evenflo) | Graco | Jane USA | Jupiter | Kolcraft | Learning Curve (Compass, The First Years | Mia Moda | Peg Perego | Recaro USA | SafeGuard | Safeline | Snug Seat | Sammons Preston | Sunshine Kids | Tumble Forms | Vehicle Manufacturer Websites: Acura | Audi | BMW | Buick | Cadillac | Chevrolet | Chrysler | Daewoo | Daihatsu | Dodge | Eagle | Ford | Ford Motor Co. | Geo | General Motors Corp | GMC | Honda | Hyundai | Infiniti | Isuzu | Jaguar | Jeep | Kia | Land Rover | Lexus | Lincoln | Mazda | Mercedes | Mercury | Mitsubishi | Nissan | Oldsmobile | Plymouth | Pontiac | Porsche | Range Rover | Saab | Saturn | Subaru | Suzuki | Toyota | Volkswagen | Volvo

Q13: Which carseats are compatible with my vehicle? It may be impossible to tell in advance if a carseat will fit tightly in a particular vehicle.  The best advice is to see if you can try the carseat in your car with your child before you buy it.  Also make sure you have a good return policy in case it doesn't fit.  You can also search this database to see results other parents have submitted: Carseat/Vehicle Compatibility List

Q14: Is a built-in child seat safe? Yes.  Make sure your child is within the age/weight limits listed in your vehicle's owner's manual.  If the seat fits your child and is used properly, it should be very safe and, of course, you never have to worry about installing it in the vehicle.  There may be some disadvantages to integrated carseats (see #15, below).

Q15: Do I need a separate carseat if my vehicle has an integrated child seat already? Maybe.  Integrated carseats, especially those with a harness, may have some disadvantages when used as the primary restraint for a child:    * Emergency personnel often prefer to remove a child in a separate carseat.  This keeps the child immobilized in case of head/spinal injury and may allow for safer transport in the ambulance.    * Integrated seats do not function rear-facing.  Rear-facing is safest for children, and many separate carseat models allow for rear-facing use to 30, 33 or 35 lbs.    * Integrated seats do not usually have any form of side impact protection.  Many separate carseats have some form of protection, and a few have special foam or plastic specifically for side impacts.  Deep wells on the side also help keep a sleeping child's head more upright.    * Harnesses on some integrated seats can be difficult to adjust, and may not fit tightly, especially on smaller children.  This can lead to an unsafe fit, and make it easier for a child to remove all or part of the restraint.  Some integrated seats have limited or no harness height adjustment, a feature found on most separate carseat models.  This means a child may be too tall for an integrated seat well before they exceed the weight limit.    * Using an integrated carseat as your primary restraint may leave you without a method to transfer your child to another vehicle (relative, caregiver, vehicle being repaired, etc).    * The comfort on some integrated seats is far below the level found on most separate carseats.  Integrated seats also tend to be less comfortable for an adult when folded.    * Optional integrated seats are often more expensive than most separate child restraints.

Q16: Which carseats have higher slots or fit larger children?  Which ones are narrow or short enough to fit a small back seat? Some seats will accomodate taller children more easily.  Also, it is important that at least 80% of the base of the carseat is in contact with the vehicle seat.  This website has measurements and slot height listings for some models: Carseat Model Measurements and Slot Heights

Q17: Which carseats have the most features? The best way to compare features is to try carseats yourself in person.  You may find some features simply aren't important to you.

Q18: Should I buy a carseat with a harness or a shield? A 5-point harness is considered safest.  T-shields and overhead tray shields may be less safe, especially for small infants.  Also see: SafetyBeltSafe Best Car Seat NHTSA Tips

Q19: Which other features are important? Many features can enhance safety or convenience.  See this feature guide for some information: Car-Safety.Org Carseat Buying Guide

Q20: Are combination systems with strollers and carseats any good? The carseats in combination travel systems are all tested and safe.  You may find you don't get all the features you want in the carseat or stroller when buying a system.  On the other hand, some infant seats have convenient bases that allow you to move the carrier from one car to another car to a stroller without waking your infant.  Only you can decide if one is right for your situation. Read more... Back

© Car Seat ABC

Car Seat Buying Guide

Which car seat should I buy?

This is one of the most common questions we get asked. It might even be the most commonly asked question. There is no easy answer, unfortunately. The safest, best car seat is the one that will fit securely in your vehicle, that fits your child's age, height, and weight, that you can operate correctly every time, and that fits your budget. Looking at safety ratings is not enough–if the seat rated “safest” doesn’t fit securely in your vehicle, or if you can’t figure out how to operate it, it is NOT the best seat for YOU. All car seats are safe and will protect your child if properly used.

There are so many factors that go into picking the best car seat, here are some things to consider.

Will it fit in your car?

A great car seat for you will install easily in the center position of your vehicle–since passengers sitting in the center are 43% safer than passengers on the side, it is safest to get a car seat that will work in the center. Many car seats unfortunately are difficult or even impossible to install in the center of many vehicles, largely because the center seat of most vehicles does not come equipped with lower latch anchors – not to mention the center is typically very narrow with a more rigid seat cushion. You can read more about installing a seat in the center on our Using Latch in the Center page.

While we can’t make a specific recommendation about which specific car seat will work in your particular vehicle without speaking with you, we can recommend that you look for a car seat with a built-in locking device for the seat belt. These car seats typically yield a secure installation in the center seat using the vehicle’s seat belt in conjunction with the built-in locking device. When using a built-in locking device, you don’t have to switch the shoulder belt into its locking mode… a locking mode that typically causes most rear-facing seats to tilt on their sides due to all the tension being upwards in the shoulder belt.

Will it fit your lifestyle?

A car seat has to work for YOU. If you travel a lot and are constantly installing and uninstalling your seat, you need to buy one that is easy to install. If you need to take taxis or use rental cars frequently, buy a seat that is easy to install using the seat belt and doesn't require lower anchors (so you don't have to dig around the seat bottom of strange cars). If you walk everywhere, the car seat needs to fit on your stroller–but you should base your stroller purchase on the car seat, not vice versa, since the car seat and not the stroller may one day save your child’s life (see our Stroller Compatibility page). If you plan on having a second child soon, buy a car seat with a long lifespan, so that you can pass it down to the next child, and buy one that can be installed in multiple locations in your vehicle, since a second child may change your seating positions. Good car seats for taxi travel can be found on our Using Taxis seat selector page; good seats for airplane travel on our Airplanes page.

Will the car seat fit your child?

Car seats are expensive! Buy a seat that has high height and weight limits. This will allow you to use the seat for longer and will push off your next purchase for as long as possible. An infant or convertible car seat with high height and weight limits will allow you to keep your child rear-facing for longer, and since rear-facing is 5 times safer than forward-facing, it’s the best way to keep your child safe in the car.

Will the car seat fit your budget?

As we said above, car seats are expensive! However, they are also the one baby item that could one day save your child’s life. They are well worth the money when considered in this light. You do not need to spend hundreds of dollars to get a safe car seat, but if you have to pick one item to splurge on, we (obviously) think the car seat is the one.

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© Car Seat ABC

Carseat FAQ

Q21: My baby is N years old and weighs X pounds.  What carseat should I buy for my model vehicle? Q22: I have a very small newborn.  What seat is best? Q23: Where can I find a car bed or carseat for a child with special needs? Q24: Which carseats can be used on an airplane? Q25: How many years can I use my carseat? Q26: Are used carseats safe to use? Q27: My carseat was in a crash.  Can I still use it? Q28: A review at Epinions, BabyGearReview or Viewpoints said my carseat is not a good one.  Should I get a new one? Q29: Consumer Reports said my booster may be unsafe!  What should I do? Q30: Consumer Reports rated my carseat very low.  Is it safe? Q31: My child won't use a carseat/booster.  My child escapes his carseat.  What can I do? Q32: Where can I have my carseat inspected? Q33: Is my carseat tight enough? Q34: The top of my rear-facing carseat moves easily.  Is that unsafe? Q35: I can’t get it installed tightly enough. What can I do? Q36: My carseat is tight, but I'm worried that it might gouge the fabric or leather in my car.  What can I do? Q37: What is LATCH?  Is it safer?  Does my car or carseat have it? Q38: What are tethers?  Can I use one with my car/carseat? Q39: Can I use my tether strap when the carseat is rear-facing? Q40: What is the safest position for my carseat? Q41: My car has a fold-down armrest in the rear seat.  Can I install my carseat in front of it? Q42: My car only has lapbelts. What can I do? Q43: Can I install a carseat in the side-facing jump seats in a pickup, or a rear-facing seat in a wagon? Q44: Can I install a carseat/booster in a position that does not have a headrest? Q45: Can I put my carseat in the front seat of my vehicle? Q46: How far should my carseat be reclined?  Should it tilt to one side? Q47: Is it OK to put a towel under my carseat to adjust the angle? Q48: My rear-facing carseat is touching the back of the seat in front of it.  Is that OK? Q49: What is a locking clip?  Do I need one? Q50: I only have a lap belt.  Can I use a locking clip to make it tight? Q51: Can I use non-regulated [aftermarket or third party] products to help install carseats or position seatbelts? Q52: Can I use an infant head support?  Is it OK to put a padded cushion under my child for comfort? Q53: Which harness slots should I use? Q54: How tight should the harness straps be? Q55: Does it matter if the harness straps are all twisted? Q56: Where should the chest clip (harness retainer tie) be on my child? Q57: Can my child wear a winter coat in his/her carseat? Q58: Is my child too tall or heavy for his/her carseat? Q59: Is it OK to leave the handle upright on my infant carrier? Q60: I think my infant or carseat is too hot.  What can I do? Q61: Is it safe to install my carseat near an airbag? Q62: What about buses and airplanes? Q63: Who can I ask if my question isn't answered here? Q64: Can you recommend some articles for further reading? Q65: What are some other good Child Passenger Safety resources?

Q21: My baby is N years old and weighs X pounds.  What carseat should I buy for my model vehicle? Specific recommendations are beyond the scope of this FAQ.  Please try the Interactive Compatibility Database for vehicle/carseat compatibility.  For recommended carseats, please visit CarSeatSite.Com and our Recommended Seats.  Finally, these questions are also very appropriate for our Car-Seat.Org Forums.

Q22: I have a very small newborn.  What seat is best? Check the manufacturer's instructions for the minimum weight.  For premature or very small infants, you can also try a Read more... Back

© Car Seat ABC

Resources

Used and Borrowed Car Seats

Is it safe to use a borrowed or used (secondhand) car seat? Can you sell your car seat once your child outgrows it?

The car seat is the one baby item you will buy that could save your child’s life. When in doubt, don’t borrow, buy, or sell a used car seat - it’s just not worth the risk. However, many used car seats are still safe – and can be sold/loaned out safely.


Here is what you need to know in order to make sure the used car seat is safe.

1. Make sure you know the ENTIRE history of the car seat.

2. Make sure the car seat was NEVER in a crash.

3. Make sure all the parts are present and in good working order.

4. Make sure the seat is not expired.

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Experiences & Stories

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Recalls

Here you will find information about car seat brand recalls.

One of NHTSA’s many important functions is to make sure motor vehicles and car seats meet all Federal safety standards. Sometimes a motor vehicle or motor vehicle safety equipment (such as car seats and boosters) does not comply with these safety standards,or there is a safety related defect. If this happens, a recall may occur in order to fix the problem. Take steps to stay informed as soon as you purchase a car seat.

To ensure you are notified in the event of a recall, be sure to register your car seat. Write your name and address on the postage-paid card that comes with the car seat and mail it. You can also register your car seat online at our website:
Manufacturers are required to notify you of a recall.
You should also sign up to receive e-mail alerts about car seat and booster seat recalls from NHTSA:
When you hear about a car seat or booster seat recall, be sure to:
Find out which models and manufacture dates are involved.
Call the manufacturer or visit their Web site for more information and to verify if your car seat or booster seat has been recalled;
or Call NHTSA’s toll-free Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236.
Before you call, have the following information:
Manufacturer’s name Model Name Model Number Date of Manufacture If your car seat is recalled get it fixed right away.

Use of a recalled car seat or booster seat

If you don’t have another car seat or booster seat to use, keep using the recalled seat while you wait for the repair kit—if the recall notice says you can. Using a recalled car seat or booster seat is almost always safer than letting a child ride in just a seat belt. Many problems are minor but some are serious. All problems should be fixed as soon as possible.

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