Car Seat Safety Standards & Testing

All Graco car seats meet or exceed the US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. But at Graco, we go above and beyond the requirements to provide additional safety testing and features for your peace of mind. 

Graco’s Crash Test Facility

Graco’s Crash Test Facility

We own and operate our very own crash test facility in Atlanta, Georgia. This allows us the flexibility to run tests throughout car seat product development that meet or exceed the US Safety standard guidelines for car seat safety (FMVSS 213).

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A Dedicated Team

A Dedicated Team

We have a team of 90+ certified passenger safety technicians dedicated to educating communities on the correct selection, installation, and use of car seats, booster seats, and vehicle seat belts, ensuring that caregivers are up to date on car seat education. Our technicians are trained in child passenger safety by Safe Kids Worldwide—an international organization dedicated to preventing child injury.

Our Safety Standard

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Graco® ProtectPlus Engineered™

Graco® ProtectPlus Engineered™

Graco ProtectPlus Engineered is a combination of the most rigorous crash tests that helps to protect your little one in frontal, side, rear & rollover crashes, and additional testing based on the New Car Assessment Program and for extreme car interior temperatures.

Frontal-Impact Tested 

Graco® car seats are tested to meet or exceed the child restraint criteria for a frontal crash test under US FMVSS 213, helping to protect your little one in the event of a frontal collision.

Side-Impact Tested

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, side collisions represent the second most common type of fatal car accident, but there are currently no side-impact safety standards in the US. While no side-impact testing is currently required under the FMVSS 213, Graco® has side-impact tested its car seats for occupant retention with the built-in 5-point harness system and in highback belt-positioning modes. 

Rear-Impact Tested

While no rear-impact crash testing is currently required under the US FMVSS 213, Graco® tests our ProtectPlus Engineered™ car seats for rear-impact collisions based on the European Standard Rear-Impact crash pulse.

Graco® Rollsafe™ Testing Standard 

Under the US FMVSS 213, there is currently no testing criteria for rollover accidents. Graco tests our ProtectPlus Engineered™ car seats using our own Graco RollSafe™ testing standard, based on the European rollover testing procedure.

Approximately 2X Car Seat Standard New Car Assessment Program (NCAP)

Graco® car seats are rigorously crash tested for structural integrity by duplicating the high crash forces in NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program, which results in a crash test that experiences approximately twice the impact force required by US FMVSS 213. This test mimics an acceleration speed and crash force approximately twice that of the federal standards, helping keep your child safe in extreme crash scenarios.

Extreme Car Interior Temperatures

As you can see in your everyday life, hot and cold temperatures can manipulate materials and make them more brittle. Graco® car seats are tested for structural integrity by applying the US FMVSS 213 crash pulse to a car seat that has been exposed to extreme hot and cold temperatures. This helps Graco® ensure that your seat will be strong enough to protect your child even in extreme environments.

Learn AAP & NHTSA Guidelines for How to Ride

Graco supports the American Academy of Pediatrics and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Car Seat Guidelines. Examine these guidelines to help determine which type of car seat your child should be using.

All Children Start Riding Rear-Facing

The AAP recommends that all infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat. Most convertible seats have limits that will permit children to ride rear-facing for 2 years or more. Gracooffers a line of car seatsthat help your child safely ride rear-facing longer, until they reach 50 lb.

When to Switch to Forward-Facing

Once children have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their car seat, the AAP recommends that they use a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat. According to NHTSA, when compared with seat belts, 5-point harness restraints are associated with a 28% reduction in risk of serious injury. Graco offers seats with extended harness weight ratings up to 65 lb.

When to Use a Belt-Positioning Booster

After children have reached the maximum forward-facing harness weight or height for their car seat, the AAP recommends that they use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet, 9 inches and are between 8 and 12 years old. Children can use just the vehicle seat belt once they can sit all the way back against the vehicle seat with knees bent at the edge of the seat, the shoulder belt fits across the collarbone and sits flush with the torso, the lap belt sits low on the hips and tops of the thighs, and they can stay seated this way for the entire ride.

Our Additional Safety Technologies

Rear facing car seat

Anti-Rebound Bar

Anti-Rebound Bar

Graco® car seats equipped with an Anti-Rebound Bar provide an additional layer of rear-facing safety. An Anti-Rebound Bar limits rotation of the seat and your child in the event of an impact.

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Trueshield Technology

Trueshield Technology

Car seats equipped with TrueShield technology offer advanced side-impact protection from your child’s head to hips. The protective shields help keep kids safe in the event of an impact from the side of your vehicle. While all Graco® car seats are side-impact tested, car seats with TrueShield technology undergo additional side-impact testing based on the European R129 testing standard.

infant rear facing car seat

Safety Surround™ Technology

Safety Surround™ Technology

Graco® Safety Surround Advanced Side-Impact Protection provides the best head protection at every stage. With the additional protection in the headrest, Graco Safety Surround car seats grow with your child as they grow. Side-impact testing on these car seats goes even further above and beyond, and is based on the European R129 side-impact testing standard.

Selecting a Car Seat


Learn about the types of car seats and which is right for your child. 

Car Seat Installation


Watch videos to learn how to properly install your car seat. 

Car Seat Expiration


Learn how to check when your car seat expires.