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Car seat confusion

I have a confession to make – I broke the law today (unintentionally). I picked up my four year old from pre-school and I was also driving his two friends – both three year olds – home. Well, I forgot that over the weekend we had done some car jockeying and my minivan, usually flush with car seats of the booster and regular variety, now had two sad boosters in the back seat, that was it.

I had my son risk it in the seat belt and put the two little ones in the boosters and kept my fingers crossed. Anyway, it led me to come home and do some research on car seat laws. I have never been clear on the rules. Like, when can you turn the baby around in the car seat (my mother insisted something like 6 months because wasn’t it so boring for the baby to face the back seat? I had to explain that there were laws now, unfortunately)? And when can a kid can sit in the front seat (again, last year my father drove my two daughters home from my parents’ house – they were 4 and 6 – and my 6 year old excitedly told me she got to ride in the front seat. When I asked my dad about it, he couldn’t believe she had never sat in the front seat – again, I explained there was a tiny issue concerning the LAW)?

What I confirmed is that laws vary from state to state but the basic rule is rear facing car seat / infant car seat until 1 year old and 20 lbs. Car seat until 4 years old and 40 lbs. Booster seat until 8 years old and 80 lbs. The back seat is the safest place for any child 12 and younger.

Needless to say, when I got home I immediately replaced my car seats, and I hope my sons’ friends didn’t turn me in!

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