Whenever you drive with your baby, always check for a securely fastened car seat, even for short trips. Studies have shown that most traffic accidents happen close to home, usually because that’s where we spend most of our time driving. Car seats should always be installed correctly and securely, following the manufacturer’s instructions and any instructions from your car manufacturer.

After you’ve correctly installed your infant’s car seat, a few tips can help to make driving with a car seat safer:

  • Do not use any aftermarket products (e.g., mirrors, sun visors, portable DVD players, toys attached to the seat, etc.) with your car seat unless approved by your child seat manufacturer. They could affect the performance of the child seat during a crash and become dangerous projectiles in a collision.
  • If you are planning to fly, be sure to check your child seat before you leave for the airport. A child seat meets FAA requirements only if it is labeled, “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.”
  • If a car seat has been involved in a severe crash or is past its expiration date, the seat should be replaced. The manufacture date can be found on the side of every car seat.
  • Register your car seat with the manufacturer. You can usually do this by visiting the manufacturer’s website or by completing and mailing in the registration card that came with your seat. If you don’t register your seat, the manufacturer will not be able to contact you in the event of a recall or safety notice relating to your product.
  • Do not use a previously owned car seat unless you are able to verify that the seat has not been involved in a crash, that all parts are included and attached appropriately, and that the seat is not involved in a recall.


  • Most traffic accidents happen to close to home, so check that your child’s car seat is installed correctly and securely.
  • Replace car seats if its past the expiration date and/or has been in a severe crash.
  • Car seat manufacturers usually offer registration of car seats on their website.
  • Avoid using previously own car seats unless it includes all attachments and parts and check to see if it has ever been recalled.

Last reviewed by Heather Felton, MD, FAAP. Review Date: April 2020


  1. The American Academy of Pediatrics. Safety and Prevention.
  2. Safe Kids Worldwide. In and Around Cars.
  3. SeatCheck.


  1. What are the recommendations of when it is okay to switch to a booster?

    1. So true, Annie!


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