How to Properly Install Your Baby Car Seat

Car seat installation is one of the most confusing parts of early parenting that most anyone faces.  Nearly 80 percent of all car seats are installed incorrectly, leaving a lot of children in a danger’s way.  Let me break it down for you to help you ensure you little one is as safe as possible on your way to run errands.

The same basics apply to all car seat installations.  Most important is to first read the owners manual to ensure you are using their specifications to properly install according to that seats design.

If your car has a LATCH system, hook your LATCH attachment from the car seat to the furthest anchor.  Put weight onto the car seat by putting your knee into the seat, this will help create a snug fit so the seat doesn’t come loose as easy.  While putting the pressure on your seat, pull any slack from the LATCH belt.

If you do not have a LATCH system in your vehicle, you can still safely install your child’s car seat using the shoulder or lap belt.  Refer to the owner manual of your car seat as to where to place the car seat belt.  As with the LATCH system, apply pressure to the seat and remove any slack from the belt.  If you have problems removing the slack, as I always do, you can invest in a product like Sunshine Kids Mighty-Tite, which I swear by.  It connect to the car seat belt and by using a small lever, you remove all slack.  This is the only way I can securely install my kid’s seats.

Tips:

  • If you have leather seats, place some non-slip rubber shelf liner under your car seat or you can purchase a seat saver to ensure the seat does not slide around.
  • The safest place for a car seat in the middle of the back seat.
  • Do not overly tighten the straps holding in your car seat or the plastic could become weak and break easily in the event of an accident.
  • Never buy a used car seat.  If the car seat was being used during a car accident, it is not safe for your child.  Don’t just take their word that it’s never been in an accident, always go with a new car seat to ensure safety.
  • A rear-facing seat should be at a 45 degree angle.  If your seat does not come with an adjuster, place a small portion of a pool noodle under the seat to ensure it stays at the correct angle.  Do not use a rolled towel because the towel will compress over time.