Forward-Facing Car Seats with Harnesses

Stage 2: Forward-Facing Car Seats with Harnesses until Age 5+

Keep your child rear-facing until the top weight or height limits for the rear-facing car seat. Once top rear-facing limits are reached, use a forward-facing car seat with a harness and a tether. Keep your child in a car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit for the harness.

Forward-Facing Car Seat Safety Tips

Toddlers and preschoolers 2 years or older

should use a forward-facing safety seat with a harness in the back seat, and should use harnesses until at least 40 pounds.

Children should remain in safety seats

with harness straps until at least 40 pounds or to the maximum weight limit for harness straps. Avoid graduating to a booster seat until at least 40 pounds (or later if possible).

There are a variety of seat options:

Convertible, Forward- facing, Combination Toddler/Booster seats.

Read labels and seat instructions

 to determine the correct seat for age, weight and height. Maximum forward-facing harness weight range can vary from 40-85+ pounds.

Make sure child is within weight/height limits

for the seat and head is more than one inch below the top of the car seat shell.

READ the instruction manual

AND the safety belt/seat section in your vehicle manual for proper installation guidance.

Children under 13 years old

should always ride in the back seat.

Install safety seats tightly

in the vehicle; less than an inch of movement.

If using a safety belt to install

LOCK the vehicle safety belt to keep it tight; refer to labels on belt, vehicle owner’s manual, and car seat instruction manual.

Safety Restraint Misuses

At least half of safety seats

are unintentionally misused. Partial misuse of a safety seat reduces its effectiveness against severe injuries.

Parents’ top 3 mistakes when installing traditional safety seats include:

  • Failure to secure the seat tightly
  • Failure to secure the harness straps tightly
  • Incorrect positioning of the chest clip

To help guard against misuse, parents should always

  • READ seat instructions, labels, and vehicle owner’s manual
  • Install the seat tightly (less than 1 inch of movement) & lock the safety belt
  • Position the harness straps tightly

Printable Parent Resources


Child Passenger Safety Stages 1-page Flyer |  English  |  Spanish

Printable Child Passenger Safety Guide |  PDF