Installing Basic Tip #1
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 isn’t an event near you, look here for a certified child passenger safety technician (CPST) who can help you.
Installing Basic Tip #2
find the Best place in the car
The back seat is the safest place to ride for all children under age 13. But not all cars allow for a car seat in every place that has a seat belt. Check your car owner manual to see where you can put a car seat. 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.
Installing Basic Tip #3
Use the Seat Belt or LATCH
There are two ways to secure a car seat in a vehicle.
- One way is to use the vehicle seat belt. Place the seat belt through the car seat at the belt path. Arrows on the car seat or directions on the car seat label will show you the correct belt path to use. On all forward-facing car seats, use a top tether when securing the car seat.
- Another way is to use lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH) to attach the car seat to the vehicle. Car seats have lower attachments that connect to the car’s lower anchors. On all forward-facing car seats, use a top tether when securing the car seat.
The seat belt and LATCH are both safe, but don’t use both at the same time. Choose the one that gives the car seat a snug fit. The next tip shows you how to get that snug fit.
Installing Basic Tip #4
Do the Inch Test
Does the car seat have a snug fit? Do the Inch Test to find out. 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.