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How Often Are You Supposed to Change Car Seats?

A child’s car seat should be replaced after the child's height and weight exceed the seat's recommendation, if the car seat has expired or if the seat was in a vehicle during an accident, says Dr. Christie Frakes, Arizona-based pediatrician and medical consultant with MVP Kids Care. Although car seat regulations vary by state, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that once a child is 2 years old and meets the weight and height recommendation noted by the car seat manufacturer, she can be placed in a forward facing, 5-point harness car seat, notes Frakes. A child should be restrained in a car seat or booster seat until she weighs at least 80 pounds, is 4 feet, 9 inches tall or 8 years old, says Frakes. He also recommends against buying a used car seat in case the seat has expired or it was not disclosed if the car seat was involved in an accident.

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