How can I keep my baby safe in the car? Gear You Didn't Know You Needed

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baby in car seat
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Moms-to-be know you need a car seat for baby. But how do choose one -- and install it safely? An expert and moms weigh in.

Buy the Right Car Seat

"First and foremost, make sure your car seat is appropriate for your child's age and size. Second, follow the installation manual to be certain that it's properly and securely installed. If in doubt, companies as well as hospitals and fire stations can inspect the installation for you. Next, always make sure your child is strapped in securely. It's important that you not give them items such as food or toys that could pose choking hazards or become a projectile while driving. Always make a...

"First and foremost, make sure your car seat is appropriate for your child's age and size. Second, follow the installation manual to be certain that it's properly and securely installed. If in doubt, companies as well as hospitals and fire stations can inspect the installation for you. Next, always make sure your child is strapped in securely. It's important that you not give them items such as food or toys that could pose choking hazards or become a projectile while driving. Always make a habit of checking the back seat when exiting your car to be certain your child is with you at all times." -- Gary M. Kramer, MD, pediatric specialist, Coral Gables, FL

Follow the Recommendation

"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping your child rear-facing until at least 2 years and 30 pounds. There are several convertible seats that will rear-face and then forward-face."

Put a Baby-Safe Mirror on the Seat

"You attach a mirror to the headrest so she can look at herself and kick at toys that are attached to the mirror. You'll be able to look back in your own mirror and see her. It makes driving a little easier."

Rear-Face as Long as Possible

"I'm keeping my daughter rear-facing until she is near the maximum measurements of the seat or until she is 2. I would rather a broken leg and a few tears from not being comfy than a broken neck because I decided comfort was more important than safety."

Get a Convertible Seat That Will Last

"We used an infant seat until it got too heavy to carry my son in it. Then we switched to a convertible seat that goes up to 65 pounds, so we won't need a new seat anytime soon!"

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.