The Importance of Proper Car Seat Installation

January 3, 2019

You know how important it is that children be protected in car seats. But just having a car seat isn’t enough: It’s vital that you install the seat correctly.

What are the available types of car seats?

There are several types of car seats:

Where can I get more information?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has lots of information on car seat safety, including a handy chart that tells you what kind of seat is appropriate for your child depending on age and weight. But even the right seat does little good if it’s not installed correctly.

Read the car seat manual!

This may sound obvious, but even if you’ve installed seats before, take the time to read the manual to be sure you’re following the manufacturer’s directions. Read the car seat information section in your vehicle owner’s manual as well. Each seat is different, and not every seat is appropriate for every vehicle.

How do I know if the seat is correctly installed?

If the seat is easy to move back and forth or forward and backward, it’s too loose. If there’s a tether strap, and the car has a tether anchor, use it. Make certain you install a rear-facing seat at the correct recline angle. Look for a built-in angle indicator.

Is there someone who will check my installation?

Yes! We have staff at the Taylor Clinic who are certified car seat installers and will be glad to perform a car seat installation check for you. In addition, the National Child Passenger Safety Certification Program offers CPS technicians who can help. Click the link to find a certified technician who can check your installation and offer help if you need it.

How do I put my child in the seat?

Once the seat is installed correctly, make sure you adjust your child correctly every single time you go somewhere. Harness straps must be flat. Buckle the harness, situate the chest clip at armpit level, and tighten.

What about winter coats and car seats?

A puffy coat can prevent the car seat from being tight enough. To prevent this, cover the strapped-in child with a blanket instead. Consumer Reports offers more information on how to safely use a car seat in winter.