Purchasing a Safety Seat | The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Car Seat Safety for Kids

Purchasing a Safety Seat

No matter what type of restraint your child is using, there is a lot to consider when shopping for a car seat to keep your child as safe as possible while you’re on the road.

Choosing a child safety seat

For more information about specific car seat models currently available, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) website.

Other points to consider

Seating more than one child

The AAP and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommend that all children younger than 13 years be restrained in the back seat of a vehicle.

If you are transporting more children than there are back seat positions available, contact a certified child passenger technician in your area for help. If you are concerned you don't have enough seating positions for all of your children, try to arrange to use a vehicle big enough to keep all the children safe.

Is your child's car seat safe?

You need to check your baby's car seat under certain conditions:

After a crash

Safety experts and many car seat manufacturers recommend replacing your child's safety seat after a crash. NHTSA recommends replacement following a moderate or severe crash. Visit the NHTSA website for a detailed explanation of how to tell if a crash was moderate to severe.


Sometimes a defect shows up after car seats are sold. The manufacturers will then recall the seats. Make sure you fill in the registration card that comes with your new car seat and send it in to the car seat manufacturer so they can notify you if your car seat is recalled. Check the following websites to find out if your child safety seat has been recalled:

Used seats

New seats are best, but if you must use a second-hand child safety seat, keep the following in mind:


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Four Key Safety Tips

  • Restrain your child on every trip, every time.
  • Keep your child in the back seat.
  • Use the best safety restraint for your child's size.
  • Use child safety seats and seat belts correctly.

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Child Safety Seat Checklist

Follow this easy-to-use car seat checklist»