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Infant car seats

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Updated: 1/14/2003 11:29 am
Here in the U-S, more children are killed or injured in car accidents than from any other type of injury. It's the law in every state that all children under 40 pounds must ride in a car seat. Infant seats are designed for children under 20 pounds, from birth to around one year old. They are small and portable and have the best fit for newborns. A disadvantage is that as they must be replaced when the infant grows out of them, usually in the first year. An infant car seat should always be rear-facing, preferably in the back seat, and never in front if there's an air bag. Make sure the seat is made for use in a vehicle, and is not intended only as an infant carrier. Convertible car seats can be used from birth to about 40 pounds. These are seats that are used facing the rear for infants and forward-facing for toddlers. Convertible seats can be used longer, but they're bulkier than regular infant seats and are less portable. If your vehicle has a passenger-side air bag, rear-facing infant seats and convertible seats must be placed in the back seat. During a crash, the air bag inflates very quickly and forcefully. The infant seat could be struck with enough force to cause a serious injury, or even death. If you must place the child's seat in the front, the vehicle's seat must be placed as far back as possible. Some vehicles today have built-in seats for toddlers, which eliminate installation problems. Follow the instructions with each device. Weight limits vary, and it's important that the seat be placed correctly and that the harness straps are snug.

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