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Bringing baby home safely

July 5, 2023
2 minutes

If you’re expecting a baby, a car seat should be tops on your preparation list. It can help keep young passengers safe in the event of an accident. You’ll need one to bring your baby home from the hospital and for every car trip after that.

Car seat choices As long as it’s designed to be used in the backseat, facing the rear of your vehicle, your baby’s first car seat can be one of several styles:

Infant car seat. This rear-facing only car seat is designed for infants at a weight of 22 to 35 pounds and a height of 26 to 35 inches, depending on the model. It may attach to a base that secures to your vehicle. You can carry your baby in the car seat carrier, going to and from your car, with less risk of waking up a sleeping baby. The downside? Your baby may outgrow an infant car seat quickly.

Convertible, or all-in-one, car seat. You’ll install these car seats rear-facing at first, then forward-facing later. Convertible and all-in-one car seats always stay in your car. You’ll need to take your baby in and out of the car seat, but you can get years of use from it. Many convertible and all-in-one seats can accommodate children weighing 65 pounds or more.

With a convertible or all-in-one car seat, you’ll want to keep your baby rear-facing until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer. Many convertible and all-in-one seats allow children to ride rear-facing for two years or more.

Car seat check

You can install your car seat with the seatbelt, but make sure it is locked in place. Many cars also have the LATCH system. If your car seat supports the LATCH system, you can plug its connections into the LATCH anchors instead of using a car seat. Either system is safe when used correctly. For installation, read the car seat instruction manual and watch the manufacturer’s video online (if one is available).

If you’d feel better having an expert check your car seat installation, ask your primary care provider about local services that can help. Thanks to Safe Kids Worldwide, you may have certified safety instructors nearby who can give your car seat installation a checkup. To find these instructors on your own, visit

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Safe Kids Worldwide

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