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Where To Install Car Seat

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Car Seats For Newborns And Infants

How to Install a Car Seat

There are three types of car seats you can use with your infant:

  • Infant car seat. This small, portable seat has a carrying handle and a separate base thats meant to be left in the car. ;Infant car seats are generally designed for babies weighing up to about 22 to 40 pounds, depending on the model, and are meant to be used only in the rear-facing position. Most babies outgrow infant seats by the time theyre 9 to 18 months old at which point youll need to transition your baby to a rear-facing convertible or a rear-facing all-in-one car seat.
  • Convertible car seat. With a higher height and weight limit ,;convertible car seats can be used for longer in the rear-facing position and can later be used in the front-facing position. However, convertible car seats are generally bulkier and less travel-friendly than infant car seats . The fit of a convertible seat may also be slightly less secure for a newborn. So if you choose this model, make sure your baby fits snugly in it.
  • All-in-one car seat. An all-in-one seat can be transformed from a rear-facing car seat to a forward-facing car seat and finally a booster seat. Just check to be sure yours is designed to be used with babies . The downside? All-in-one seats don’t generally have a carrying handle or separate base. And because they’re bigger, in addition to ensuring your newborn fits snugly into it, youll need to check its manual to be sure the seat fits your car model.

How Do I Know If I Can Fit Three Car Seats Across My Vehicle Seat

There are many thousands of combinations of vehicle makes, models, car seatconfigurations, vehicle seat belt designs and seat cushion shapes. The easiest way to determine whether yourcar seat is suitable for a particular seating position is to check for a tight installation, especially whentrying to fit multiple passengers in the back seat of your vehicle.The following conditions should be met when installing three car seats next to each other:

  • Each car seat must achieve a correct and tight installation.
  • The positions of the car seat on the vehicle seat are not changed by contact. Each car seat still alignsproperly with respect to the seat belt or lower anchors that secure them and do not overlap the adjacent carseat.
  • If the vehicle seat is adjustable front-to-back, both portions of the vehicle seat must be adjusted to thesame position.
  • Only one lower anchor connector is connected to a single lower anchor point.
  • There is no contact or force that would bend or deform any of the car seats.
  • The lower anchor belt or seat belt used to install each car seat does not rub on each other or crossoverin a way that they interfere with each other.

Pros And Cons Of Convertible Car Seats

Convertible car seats can be incredibly useful for a number of reasons, but they also have their drawbacks.


  • Youll only need to buy one car seat , rather than needing to find a new one at every stage. Using your budget this way could allow you to invest in a better quality seat.
  • Theyre convenient. Youll only need to make one purchase, and get used to the configuration of one seat.
  • Since the seat stays in the car, your baby will spend less time strapped into it. Leaving a baby strapped into an infant car seat for long periods of time can be detrimental to their breathing.


  • Convertible seats are generally more time consuming to install and uninstall. This can be inconvenient if your child will regularly travel in different vehicles.
  • Convertible seats dont attach to a stroller like some infant seats do.
  • Some convertible seats can be a bit too roomy for new-borns, so you may need to purchase an insert, which could risk reducing its functionality.
  • Infants should travel whilst seated at a 45 degree angle most convertible seats will allow for this, but this will take up a more room in the car than an infant seat would.

Choosing the right car seat can be confusing, but, whatever you decide, ensure the seat has a good safety rating, and is suitable for children in the correct age and weight range.

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How To Install A Car Seat: A Confused Parents Guide

Why oh why are car seats so complicated? We finally cracked the code so you can install or reinstall your kids seat with confidence.

When Adrienne Penakes son, Brandon, developed a high fever and began wheezing one night, the San Mateo, California, mom knew she had to get her 11-month-old to the local urgent-care center. There was just one problem:

My husband, Dave, and I had taken the car seat out of my car a few days prior and hadnt set it back up yet. That night, Dave wasnt home and I was unable to connect the clips to the latches in my car, Penake recalls. After many tries, I just couldnt do it. In a panic, I had to borrow the car of a friend who has kids the same age as mine to get Brandon to the doctor.

Struggling to install a car seat is tough enough on a good day. When youre in a hurry, it can be next to impossible. LATCH, which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, is a system of built-in straps and hooks created to makes car seat installation easier. But despite nearly every car seat and most vehicles manufactured since September 1, 2002, being required to use the LATCH system, weve still got a long way to go when it comes to simplifying installing a car seat.

Still confused? Heres an extra cheat sheet for using the LATCH system in particular:

Lower anchors: These are the small bars in the space between the rear seat backs and the seat cushions; theyre used for installing forward- and rear-facing seats

How To Put Back A Graco Convertible Car Seat Cover On

How to install an infant car seat
  • Firstly, put the headrest cover back over the headrest.
  • Ensure you replace the elastic straps on the side of the headrest.
  • Ensure you replace the elastic straps at the back of the headrest.
  • Ensure you replace the seat pad around the car seat.
  • Feed the harness straps back through the seat pad.
  • Ensure you replace the crotch buckle through the seat pad.
  • Ensure you replace the buckle tongue on the harness strap.
  • Replace the chest clip.
  • From the back, replace the seat cover around the shell of the car seat; make sure it fits around the cup holders.
  • Ensure you replace the elastic straps on the side of the car seat.
  • Ensure you replace the 2 elastics at the back of the seat pad.
  • Feed the front adjuster strap through the opening.
  • Alternatively, heres a video showing you how to remove and replace your Graco convertible car seat cover.

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    Let Us Help You Install Your Car Seat Properly

    Take time to read the owner manuals for both your vehicle and your car seat. If you would like help installing your car seat, a car seat technician can help. Safe Kids coalitions have car seat checkup events and inspection stations around the country.;Find an;event;here. If there isnt an event;near you, look here for a certified child passenger safety technician ;who can help you.

    Put The Seat Belt In The Automatic Locking Mode

    In order to secure a child-safety seat using a seat belt make sure that the seat belt is in Automatic Locking mode.

    Seat belts have two modes Emergency locking mode and an automatic locking mode. In Emergency Locking mode, the strap of the seat belt can be pulled freely. The strap gets locked only when the car abruptly slows or stops. The belt then gets into a tight, fixed position.

    You have to switch the seat belt out of Emergency Locking mode and into Automatic Locking. You can switch between them by a switchable retractor which is fixed alongside a seat belt. Pull the belt freely until the strap webbing runs out. Put the slack back into the retractor. This will fix the strap in a fixed tight position.

    Some vehicles have a button that switches between modes. If your car doesnt have this you have to manually do it. Below are steps demonstrating how to switch from emergency locking mode to automatic locking mode.

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    Car Seats For Toddlers And Preschoolers

    • Convertible car seat. Toddlers should ride in the rear-facing position of their convertible car seat until they’ve reached the maximum height or weight for their model .
    • All-in-one car seat. Again, if your toddler is riding in an all-in-one model, make sure he’s in the rear-facing position for as long as possible.

    Car Seat Behind Driver Or Passenger

    How to install a front facing car seat

    You should only install a car seat behind the driver or passenger seats under the following conditions:

    • If you have more than one car seat that needs to be installed.
    • If your child is riding in the forward-facing position and you have another child riding in the backseat that doesnt need a car seat.

    If you have to install your car seat on the outer seats of the backseat, the first place you should utilize is behind the passenger seat.

    After doing some extensive research, I havent found a clear-cut answer as to why thats the reason. But, from the answers I did find, I was able to piece together that the reason why you should install a car seat behind the passenger seat is that there will be a good amount of times where no one is occupying the passenger seat. So, in the event of a collision, theres more space to cushion the impact. Conversely, if you install your car seat behind the driver seat, in the event of a collision, if youre thrown back, theres a higher chance of injury for your child.

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    Does The Hospital Check Your Car Seat

    You decided to install the car seat yourself rather than burden the fire department with the responsibility. That said, you would feel a whole lot better if a professional checked the security of your car seat before you use it. Do hospitals offer this service?

    Most do, yes! According to the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, the staff at the hospital will test the car seat up to a week ahead of your babys discharge date. You have to bring the car seat with you. Then the staff at the hospital will put your child in the seat and simulate the ride time home.

    Theyll review your babys oxygen levels, breathing, and heart rate to ensure the baby is healthy enough to use the car seat.;

    You can also ask the nurses and other staff to show you and your spouse or partner about the proper usage of the car seat, which they should be more than willing to do.;

    For example, before I became a firefighter, I worked in a pediatric emergency room at one large hospital in Cleveland. There we had several child life specialists on hand who were all car seat certified. Any parent, grandparent, or person who wanted to have their car seat checked could stop by the emergency room and a child life specialist would install and educate them on car seat safety.

    Car Seat Installation Assistance & Instruction

    Child Passenger Safety Technicians are car seat experts who have taken a 40-hour class with curriculum written by NHTSA in collaboration with National CPS Board and Safe Kids Worldwide. During the class they learn the ins and outs of car seats, installation options, vehicle differences, harnessing procedures and more. City residents can call 713-662-5835 to schedule an appointment.

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    Why Dont Firefighters Install Car Seats As Often Anymore

    Is there a reason that many firefighters have given up on installing car seats? Perhaps they werent making money doing so or todays firefighters are far too busy.;

    Its not exactly any of that. The primary reason why firefighters are a lot more reluctant to install car seats for parents anymore comes down to one thing: the liability.

    Lets for a moment imagine a ghastly scenario. A parent goes to a firefighter/CPS to get their childs car seat installed and then they get in an accident. The car seat does not stay secure during the crash.

    Who do you think the parents are going to blame, the makers of the car seat or the person who installed it? Maybe both, but more than likely, theyll point the finger squarely at the firefighter.;

    Now remember, this firefighter could have turned them down, but because they wanted to help, they didnt say no. Since they didnt, theyre being slapped with a lawsuit that could damage their life personally and professionally.

    Perhaps the parents sued only the firefighter or their fire department too in the hopes of getting more money. Either way, this is bad press that no fire department wants. The lawsuit could cost the fire department hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in some cases, possibly bankrupting them.;

    Convertible Car Seat Installation Tips


    Many parents choose convertible car seats because they grow with the child, saving mom and dad from having to upgrade with every growth milestone.

    Convertible seats are designed to protect a wide range of children; from small babies to larger children. For smaller children, a convertible car seat is designed to be installed facing the rear of the car. As the child grows, the car seat converts to a forward-facing position for larger children. Weight ranges for convertible car seats vary dramatically. Always check your labels and instructions to make sure your child is the appropriate size for your car seat and installation position. Follow these guidelines when installing a convertible car seat:

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    How To Clean A Graco Convertible Car Seat

    Generally, Graco convertible seat covers can be washed in a washing machine, so you can just throw them in the washer. To get the buckle and harness clean, use warm water. You can also use a mild detergent on your harness, but NOT on your buckle. Finally, allow the buckle to dry completely before reinstalling it.

    Safest Place For Forward

    If its the only car seat, the safest place to put a forward-facing car seat is on the center seat of the back seat. The same can be said for a rear-facing car seat as well. Its statistically proven that the center seat is the safest place to put a car seat.

    One;study, conducted in 2008 to evaluate the association between a car seats placement in the backseat and risk of injury, showed that children seated in the center, between the ages of 0 and 3, had a 43% less chance of injury in a collision than children seated on the driver and passenger side of the vehicle.

    Also, in a;study investigating the survival rates of children in car seats involved in a fatal collision, the results showed that when placed in the center, children have a 13% increased chance of survival.

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    Installing The Car Seat Base With A Seat Belt

  • Read your car seats instruction manual and your vehicles owner manual. Pay close attention to the information about your vehicles seat belt system, and how to lock the seat belt. Every seat and vehicle is different, which affects the way youll install your particular seat.
  • Place the car seat base in the back seat of your vehicle.
  • Carefully thread the seat belt through the rear-facing belt path. Check to make sure there are no twists in the seat belt.
  • Buckle the seat belt.
  • Lock the seat belt.
  • Press down firmly on the car seat base and tighten. The base should not move side-to-side or front-to-back more than 1 inch.
  • Make sure your car seat base is installed at the correct recline angle.
  • Babies must ride sitting semi-reclined to keep the airway open.
  • Most infant car seats have built-in angle indicators or adjustors to assist you.
  • As your child grows, the angle may need to be adjusted, so be sure to read the manufacturers instructions.
  • Attach the infant carrier to the base.
  • Position Your Child Safely

    How to install a car seat.

    Once you are finished installing the car seat, you still need to place your child into it properly to ensure their safety. Below are specifics for the harness system in both rear- and front-facing seats.

    To properly position your child in the car seat, you will need to:

    • Remove bulky clothing or unnecessary layers.
    • Place your child so their backside is flush against the seat without arching or slouching.
    • Make sure all straps should lie flat against your child without twists or knots.
    • Check that straps are snug but not too tight.
    • Verify the chest clip sits level with their armpits.
    • See that the shoulder straps connect to the seat at or directly below their shoulders.

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    Proper Car Seat Installation

    There are three types of child restraints: Rear-facing car seats, front-facing car seats, and booster seats. A common misconception is to match your child with a car seat based on their age. This is unsafe because, like car seats, all children are built different. Children progress from seat to seat based on height and weight.; Be sure to familiarize yourself with the individual restrictions of your chosen seat. Watch below as Kurt demonstrates how to install each type of car seat/restraint.

    How To Install A Child Safety Seat

    Featured Resource

    Car accidents are stressful at best, and tragic at worst. Although they are the leading cause of death for young children, using the proper car seats correctly means this doesnt have to be the case.

    According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, child and infant car seats significantly reduce the risks of fatal injury in infants and toddlers in the event of a crash.

    Keep reading to see how you can both choose and install the best car seat for your child, and take a look at our traffic safety laws page for more information on state-specific laws.

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