Signup for our newsletter to receive pregnancy, parenting and child health updates.

ask an expert

What do I need to look for in a car seat?

Hello, my daughter is 16 months old and 23 pounds. I'm a little confused about all of the car seat guidelines. What do I need to look for in a car seat?


Danielle Knudson | Expert

Danielle Knudson

The best practice for a 16 month old, 23 pound child would be rear facing in either an infant seat or a convertible car seat. The seat could be installed with either lower anchors or the seat belt. The top tether can be used rear facing on some convertible seats if the car seat manufacturer and vehicle manufacturer allow it. All car seats on the market have passed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The best seat for this child would be the one that fits the child well, installs correctly in the vehicle and fits the family's budget.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children ride in a rear facing car seat until they are at least 2 years old AND the maximum height or weight of their seat. This means your little one might be rear facing beyond two, if the height or weight maximums have not been met. Rear facing is the best practice for those under 24 months because it supports the head, neck and spine better in a crash by distributing the crash force over the entire body.

Read more answers by Danielle Knudson