Parents in California should know that the state requires them to transport their children in appropriate child safety seats when in personal vehicles. This is akin to the requirement that they themselves wear seat belts as these restraints are proven to reduce deaths in automobile accidents. The use of safety seats and seat belts may also contribute to lessened injuries in accidents. The type of child safety seat to be used varies based upon a child's weight or stage of life.
As explained by Baby Center, there are a few different types of safety seats. Infants should ride in baby seats that always face the rear of the vehicle. Once they have outgrown these seats, they may transition to a toddler seat that can be positioned facing forward but features a five-point harness. There are some models that offer a hybrid of these two seats so families can make one purchase that will last them longer.
The final style of seat is the booster seat which is like a booster seat in a restaurant that sits below the child to raise them up to a level high enough for the car's seat belt to fit them properly. Kids should stay in these seats until they are big enough for the seat belt to fit without the need to be raised up.
The American Academy of Pediatrics had previously recommended use of rear-facing car seats until kids reached the age of two. Now, however, the AAP suggests children should remain in that position until they weigh at least 40 pounds. These seats provide maximum protection for developing spines, necks and heads.