To make sure your child is safe in your car, it’s vital that you install the car seat properly. Here’s a quick guide to help you.
Experts Can Help You Install Your Car Seat
- Go to a Checkup Event. Safe Kids coalitions have car seat checkup events and inspection stations around the country. Find an event.
- Find an Expert. If there isn’t an event near you, look here for a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician who can help you.
- Do it Yourself. Take time to read the owner manuals for both your vehicle and your car seat. Each type of car seat is different. We have more tips for installing seats for babies, little kids and big kids.
Find the Best Place in the Car
The back seat is best. It is the safest place to ride for all children under age 13.
- Find the best position. Not all cars or SUVs allow for a car seat in every place that has a seat belt. Check your car owner manual to see where you can safely put a car seat.
- Consider every passenger. Make sure that the car seat or booster seat for each child riding in the car is in the best possible place. Also, make sure other passengers in the car can ride safely, too.
Use the Seat Belt or LATCH
There are two ways to secure a car seat in a vehicle. Both are safe, but don’t use both at the same time. Here’s a video on installing your car seat.
- Seat belt. Place the seat belt through the car seat at the belt path. Look for arrows and directions on the car seat label to show you the correct belt path to use. Use the top tether on all forward-facing car seats.
- LATCH. That stands for lower anchors and tethers for children. Car seats have lower attachments that connect to the car’s lower anchor bars. Use the top tether on all forward-facing car seats.
Watch LATCH weight limits. Lower anchor bars have a weight limit. Your car seat label will tell you when to stop using the lower anchors and switch to the seat belt plus tether. Continue to use the top tether until the time your child moves to the belt positioning booster seat.
Get a Snug Fit
Do the Inch Test. A properly-installed car seat shouldn’t move more than one inch front to back or side to side when pulled at the seat belt path. This rule applies for forward-facing car seats and rear-facing car seats and when the seat is secured with either the seat belt or LATCH. The top tether makes your forward-facing car seat extra snug. Use it every time! Watch the Inch Test video.
(Photo credit: www.safernm.org)