As parents, we obviously want to put our child’s safety first, and that encompasses every aspect of our child’s life—including car rides. That’s what makes it so imperative to not only invest in a good, sturdy car seat, but also to ensure you know exactly how it’s supposed to be installed in your vehicle.
The Trouble with Car Seats
This isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Though today’s infant car seats are designed to be easy to use, the simple truth is that all car seat models work a little differently, so it is essential to read the step-by-step article and instructions that come with your particular model. Additionally, car seat installation can vary depending on the kind of car you drive.
The bottom line: Most parents think they know how to safely install a car seat, but sadly, many do not. It’s important to double check your car seat installation, something you can do by taking your seat to a local fire station, police department.
Car Seat Installation: Some Basic Pointers
In the meantime, be mindful of these tips as you shop for and ultimately install an infant car seat:
- Do some research and find the car seat that’s best for you—that is, one that’s compatible with your vehicle. Note that rear-facing seats are required for all kids under the age of one year; convertible car seats, meanwhile, can be modified for use as your child grows.
- As for placement within the vehicle, note that infant car seats always go in the back; it is never allowable to install the infant car seat up front.
- Always consult the instructions that came with your car seat; this is not something you want to attempt without consulting the manufacturer guidelines. It’s way too important to take that kind of risk!
- After you get the seat installed, check for tightness. If you can move any strap or harness more than an inch in any direction, it’s not tight enough.
- Make sure your seat is set at the proper incline level. Most seats come with built-in levels, which indicate when you have the seat aligned to the proper angle.
- Keep your child in the seat until your child exceeds the recommended height and weight marks, which should be indicated in the manual or on the seat itself.
A final reminder: It never hurts to have an expert look at your car seat and confirm proper installation. If you cannot find a local mechanic or fire department officer to inspect the car seat for you, why not look for one of the many, national inspection stations that are out there?
It’s a great way to ensure you’re doing the right thing for your child’s safety!