By law it is mandatory for child passengers in a car to be properly secured in an infant seat, car seat or booster seat. Making sure your car seat is secured properly could save your child’s life in the event of an accident.
Get the Seat that Matches Your Child
There are various seats available on the market, depending on your child’s age and height. Checking out a good guide will give you a good idea of what to look for and what to expect. Since your child will grow quickly, but will need a seat until they are about twelve years old, you may want to buy seats which convert and grow with your child.
There will be some difference in installation depending on your chosen car seat, so for up to date information always refer to the manual that comes with the seat (or search online for manufacturer’s instructions), as well as your car manual.
The first and most important factor is to make sure you have the right seat for your child’s age, weight and height. Remember that infants should sit in a rear-facing seat until they are at least 1 year old; preferably 2 years old according to latest national guidelines.
There Are Two Manufactures Recommendations – Car Seat and Vehicle
Then, place the child seat on the appropriate seat in your car, always referring to the brand guide as indicated. If your seat has a detachable base, it is best to secure the base without the seat attached, as it is easier to handle and to check that you are installing it correctly.
If the seat does not use LATCH, thread the car seat belt through the indicated route and fasten the belt. Pay attention to the seat belt path you are using, since a seat which can be used as rear and forward facing will have two seat belt paths. Tighten the belt until you have the snuggest fit possible. Weighing down the seat with your own weight as you kneel on it will help to give the right setting.
A locking clip can be used for added safety with shoulder belts that do not lock automatically. Finally, make sure the belt clip is lower than the seat belt path and tighten the top tether securely.
Stay Away from Air Bags
The safest place for an older child’s seat is right in the middle of the back seat, and never in the front passenger seat facing an airbag. Also, make sure the seat for a very young baby is at a 45-degree angle, so that the head does not tilt forward and obstruct the airway.
Most importantly, if correctly installed your car seat should not move more than an inch from side to side. If in doubt, your local fire department can assist you.