Picking a child safety seat is, obviously, important for the safety of a child. All 50 states in the U.S. have laws regulating the use of safety seats. Having a child in the wrong seat for her weight can mean a child won't be protected in an accident. There are some basic guidelines to follow when selecting the car seat type for your child.
Car safety seats that face backward in a car are recommended for children up to 20 lbs.
Safety seats that face forward are recommended for toddlers after their first birthday and if they weigh a minimum of 20 lbs. It is recommended, however, that toddlers remain facing backward as long as possible because it is the safest position while they still fit properly in the seat in this manner.
Booster seats are not recommended until the child reaches about 40 lbs. It is recommended that children stay in a booster seat until they are 4 foot 9 inches tall, at which time a regular seat belt will fit them properly.
Once a child is 4 foot 9 inches tall and about 80 lbs. it is recommended that they stop using the booster seat, and start using a regular safety belt.
Laws very state-by-state on when a child has to be in a safety seat. The height and weight range for the seat itself should always be followed.