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DOT HS 811 091 August 2009 - page 23 / 27





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Buying A SAfer CAr for Child PASSengerS 2009



CHILD sAFety seAts AnD BoosteR seAts

If you have children and are shopping for a fam- ily car, you’ll want to check to see that your child safety seat and booster seat are compatible with the vehicle . Review the following compatibility infor- mation, ease-of-use ratings, and child safety and booster seat usage chart to make sure your new vehicle and safety seat will work together properly to protect your child in the event of a crash .

Vehicle Compatibility Considerations

Not all child safety seats can be installed in all vehicles and in all seating positions . With so many models of child safety seats, more than 300 models of passenger vehicles, and the wide range of seat types and belt systems available today, correctly installing a child safety seat can be a challenge . See page 3 for more information on LATCH .

Vehicle design factors that can aect child safety seat placement include: two-door vehicles, small back seats, deep bucket seats, slope and contour of the back seat, splits in bench seats, forward-anchored belts, and pickup truck jump seats/extended cabs . (Note: side-facing jump seats are unsafe for a child safety seat under all circumstances!)

To ensure your child safety seat is compatible with a vehicle you are looking to purchase, NHTSA rec- ommends you test the t of your child safety seat in the vehicle before you buy . If the vehicle proves incompatible with your existing seat, you can either select another vehicle that is compatible — or pur- chase and install a new car seat that ts well in the new vehicle .

You’ll nd car seat installation instructions in the child safety seat manual and in your vehicle owner’s manual. Once you have installed the seat, test the

  • t by rmly pulling at the base of the child seat, at

the seat belt path, from side to side and forward. A properly installed seat should not move more than one inch in any direction. You can have a techni- cian check the seat by visiting a local child safety seat inspection station. To nd a location near you, go to www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cps/cpstting or call the DOT Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236, or call 866-SEATCHECK .

Ease-of-Use Ratings

A child safety or booster seat that’s installed and used properly will better protect your child in the event of a crash. at’s why NHTSA developed a new ratings system that allows you to evaluate how easy certain car seat features are to use before you buy a seat. Seats are rated on a scale of one to ve stars (ve being excellent, which is the highest rat- ing). It’s important to remember that these star rat- ings are not safety ratings. All child restraints are required to meet Federal safety standards. Instead, the new ratings are based on several ease-of-use factors, including:

  • Evaluation of Instructions

  • Vehicle Installation Features

  • Evaluation of Labels

  • Securing the Child

Visit www.nhtsa.gov and click on Child Safety Seat Usage Ratings, or go directly to www.nhtsa.dot. gov/CPS/CSSRating/Index.cfm to nd updated ease-of-use ratings for both child safety seats and booster seats .

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