Car seats may not be able to prevent all injuries when an accident happens, but they’ve been shown time and time again to reduce injuries to children and in some cases, to keep accidents from being fatal. To get this type of use out of them, though, it’s crucial that you have the right one. The type of restraint a child uses largely depends on age.

For children who are between 0 and 3, a rear-facing car seat should be considered. For any child under a year old, this design is a must. It’s recommended that these styles be used for as long as you can.

Children between the ages of 1 and 7 may be able to use a forward-facing car seat. These seats can come with harnesses and tethers. Again, it’s recommended that you don’t make the switch until the child is at least 3, though it can be done in some situations. These seats also have height and weight restrictions, so be sure your child fits within the guidelines.

Between the ages of 4 and 12, a booster seat can be used. As noted above, a 4-year-old may stay in a forward facing seat for a few more years, but could use a booster if he or she exceeds the limits on the car seat. The booster seat works along with the car’s standard seat belt, simply helping it fit better on smaller children.

Many children transition to a standard seat belt before they reach 12 years old, but it’s important only to switch if the child is big enough–and not just because of the child’s age.

If your child had the proper restraint system and was still injured in a wreck in Colorado, you may be able to seek compensation.

Source: Parents Central, “Car Seat Recommendations for Children,” accessed Nov. 10, 2015