Driving Safety: Proper Car Seat Installation

Car seats use is imperative when it comes to the safety of children traveling in vehicles. Making sure that a car seat is installed properly is just as important as using one. If a car seat is installed incorrectly, it can put your child’s life in danger. While all different car seats have different installation instructions, there are some basic installation tips that should be followed. If you want to really make sure your car seat is installed properly, contact your local police department. Most will perform car seat safety checks or can refer you to someone that does. Keep the following tips in mind when installing your child’s new car seat.

Make Sure You Read Instructions – Car seats will come with a set of instructions for installation. While at first glance, it might look like installation is easy and straightforward, fully reading the directions will ensure that you are indeed installing the seat correctly.

Securing The Car Seat – Car seats will need to be installed using either a seat belt, or the lower anchors of a LATCH system, if your vehicle has such a system. If you choose to use a seat belt to secure the car seat, refer to your vehicle’s owner manual to make sure you are locking the seat belt properly.

Put Car Seat in The Back – Car seats should never be placed in the front seat of a vehicle, and instead should always be installed in the back seat. Small children can be seriously injured by the deployment of front air bags in the case of an accident and as such back seat installation in necessary for safety purposes.

Make Sure Seat Does Not Move – It is imperative that the car seat is tightly secured in your vehicle. It should not move front to back or side to side by more than one inch when tugged on. If the seat does move, make sure you tighten the seat belt, or lower anchors of the LATCH system.

Once the car seat is installed, it is also important to make sure that you are properly securing your child in the seat. With rear facing car seats, position the harness, and make sure that the straps are not twisted before latching. With both rear facing and forward facing car seats, the straps of the harness should be placed in the slot that is either directly at or right above your child’s shoulders.

Injuries from motor vehicles are one of the leading causes of death amongst children in the United States. Research has proven that proper use of car seats can reduce the risk of death to infants by more than seventy percent, and for toddlers, by more than fifty percent. For older children, the use of seat belts can cut the risk of death by half. A startling number of children have been injured or killed over the years due to not being properly restrained in a car seat. Reduce the risk of injury or death, and ensure the correct installation of your child’s car seat. In addition to contacting your local police or fire department, you may be able to find car seat inspection stations set up depending on the city in which you live. The inspection stations will have experts that will be able to inspect your car seat and make sure that it is properly installed, further adding to safety and giving you peace of mind.

Additional Car Seat Information

By Ted Burgess