If you are going to be using a used car seat, make sure to research the seats history. Things to check for is if it comes with instructions and a label showing the manufacturer, if it has been recalled, if it is more than six years old, if it has no visible damage or missing parts, and if it has never been in a moderate or severe crash. If you don’t know the history, don’t use it.
Properly placing the car seat is vital. The safest place for your child’s car seat is in the back seat, away from active air bags. A child who rides forward facing in a car seat can also be harmed by air bags. If only one seat is being installed in the back seat, place it in the middle, rather than next to a door to minimize the risk of injury during a crash.
Do not use your car seat as a place for your child to sleep at home. Studies have shown that sitting upright in a car seat too often might compress a newborn’s chest and lead to lower levels of oxygen. Sitting in a car seat for lengthy periods of time can also cause the development of a flat spot on the back of the head, as well as gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Correctly buckling your child in a car seat is also very important. Be sure to read the car seat instructions and the vehicle’s owner’s manual section on car seats. The car seat should not move more than one inch when moved from side to side.
Keep your child rear facing as long as possible. Riding rear faced is recommended until the child reaches the age of 2, or 35 pounds.