Child Safety Seats

Improperly installed child safety seats do not fully protect children from injuries and/or deaths in crashes or in sudden emergency maneuvers. To find area locations which conduct carseat checkup events, go to  or Wilmette Fire Department also provides this service to its residents free of charge.

Below are the guidelines for child safety seat use as provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Proper Child Safety Seat Use Chart
WEIGHT Birth to 1 year,
up to 20-22 lbs.
Over 1 year and
Over 20 lbs.-40 lbs
Over 40 lbs.
Ages 4-8, unless 4′-9”
TYPE OF SEAT Infant only or rear-facing convertible Convertible / Forward-facing Belt positioning booster seat
SEAT POSITION Rear-facing only Forward-facing Forward-facing
ALWAYS MAKE SURE Children to one year and at least 20 lbs. in rear-facing seats.

Harness straps at or below shoulder level

Harness straps should be at or above shoulders.

Most seats require top slot for forward-facing

Belt positioning booster seats must be used with both lap and shoulder belt.


Make sure the lap belt fits low and tight across the lap/upper thigh area and the shoulder belt fits snug crossing the chest and shoulder to avoid abdominal injuries

WARNING All children age 12 and under should ride in the back seat All children age 12 and under should ride in the back seat All children age 12 and under should be buckled in the back seat
Tips to Protect Children from Transportation-Related Risks – In the Vehicle – Child Passenger Safety
  • All children should be placed in child safety seats, booster seats or seat belts – every time they ride in a vehicle.
  • Children 12 and younger should be buckled up in the back seat.
  • Infants must be placed in rear-facing seats until they are at least one year old and 20 pounds.
  • Children between 20 and 40 pounds should be placed in forward-facing safety seats.
  • When your child outgrows his or her forward-facing safety seat, use a booster seat until your child is at least 8 years old or over 4-feet 9-inches tall.
  • Seat belts are made for adults. A booster seat raises a child up so the seat belt fits.
  • Children who have outgrown booster seats should always use seat belts.
Seat belts are not designed for children. Young children are too small for seat belts and too large for toddler seats. A booster seat raises your child up so that the seat belt fits properly to better protect your child. The shoulder belt should cross the child’s chest and rest snugly on the shoulder, and the lap belt should rest low across the pelvis or hip area—never across the stomach area. Your child’s ears shouldn’t be higher than the vehicle’s seat back cushion or the back of a high-back booster seat.