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Updated: 8/11/2003 11:11 pm Published: 8/11/2003 11:11 pm

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, part of the Federal Department of Transportation, developed a set of guidelines for protecting your child during car travel. These standards may vary from state to state, but most are very similar to the recommended federal standards. One of the most important points is requiring car seats for children up to one year old or under twenty pounds. This seat should face the rear of the car, and be in the back seat. If your child is over one year old, or weighs more than twenty pounds, the car seat may face the front the car. The back seat is still the safest location for this age group. If your child is over 40 pounds, you can safely use a booster seat until the car's lap and shoulder belts fit correctly. Proper positioning for the belt is a low, snug fit around the waist and diagonally across the torso, with no part of the belt crossing the face or neck. Again, the back seat remains the safest place for all children under 60 pounds to ride, because deployed air bags and sudden stops can result in injury when children are secured in the front seat.

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