Child passenger safety in motor vehicles

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for children over one year of age. When properly installed, child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers. Seat belt usage increases the chances for surviving a crash by nearly 45 percent.

Source: South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

Types of infant and child car seats

Infants and Toddlers

Type of seat - Rear-facing only seats and rear-facing convertible seats.

General guidelines -All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer.

Home from the hospital - The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants should ride a rear-facing car seatstarting with their first ride home from the hospital.

Car Seat Tips and Installation

Evenflo, Nurture™ Infant Car Seat

Toddler and Preschoolers

Type of seat - Convertible seats and forward-facing seats with harness.

General guidelines - All children 2 years or older, or those younger than 2 years who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their car seat, should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed their car seat’s manufacturer.

Car Seat Tips and Installation

Evenflo, Tribute™ DLX Convertible Car Seat

School-aged children

Type of seat - Booster seat

General guidelines - All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their car seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age.

Car Seat Tips and Installation

Graco Highback TurboBooster Car Seat

Older children

Type of seat - Seat belts

General guidelines - When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use lap and shoulder seat belts for optimal protection. All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.

Car Seat Tips and Installation

Become a child passenger safety technician

For more information on becoming a child passenger safety technician please visit, Safe Kids USA Child Passenger Safety Certification website. To become a technician in South Carolina, please contact Katrin Bost at

National Child Passenger Safety Certification is a program of Safe Kids Worldwide.


  • Motor vehicle fact sheet - PDF
    Safe Kids USA
  • Parent car seat checklist - PDF
    SIDS Network of Kansas, Inc.
  • South Carolina Law on child passenger safety - Webpage
    South Carolina State House
  • 11 Ways to keep your child safer in a car (Spanish) - PDF
    Children’s Trust of South Carolina

Useful websites