Child Passenger Safety 101

September is Child Passenger Safety month! Dealers across the country will host child safety seat inspections in their communities as part of NADA's national Boost for Safety campaign to help protect young passengers. 

Since the Boost for Safety campaign began in 2003, dealers have checked more than one million seats, and found nine out of 10 seats either improperly installed or in need of replacement.

Contact your local dealership for more information.

What is LATCH?

Latch LogoThe LATCH system, required on all car seats and most vehicles manufactured in the U.S. after Sept. 1, 2002, was developed to make it easier to correctly install car seats without seat belts. The car seats have lower attachments which fasten into anchors in the backseat of the vehicle where the cushions meet. An upper strap or tether on the car seat attaches to an upper attachment point in the vehicle. 

Child Passenger Safety 101: The Basics

  • From birth to at least one year old and at least 20 pounds, children should be secured in the back seat in a rear-facing infant seat.
  • Children between the ages of one to about age four and 20-40 pounds should be secured in the back seat in a forward-facing toddler seat.
  • Kids between the ages of four and eight or 40-80 pounds — unless 4’9” — should be properly restrained in the back seat in belt-positioning booster seats.
  • There are two types of booster seats — a high-back booster and a low-back booster.
    • A high-back booster seat uses the vehicle’s lap/shoulder belt and provides head and neck support for the child if the car does not have a built-in head restraint.
    • A low-back booster seat is for use in vehicles that have a built-in head restraint. This type of booster seat is also used with the lap/shoulder belt to properly secure the child.
  • The child seat manufacturer certifies that all child safety seats sold meet federal safety performance standards. 

For a complete list of the safety seat models, please visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Web site,


Child Passenger Safety — A Parent's Primer, a two-page brochure from NADA and NHTSA.
A Parent's Guide to Buying and Using Booster Seats.

Quick Links:

Where to Check Your Child's Safety Seat
It's a Fact: Statistics On Child Passenger Safety (CPS)
NADA's Commitment to Child Passenger Safety
Frequently Asked Questions