By: Allana Pinkerton, Certified CPST and Global Safety Advocate for diono
Check List for Proper Installation
- Read the manuals for the car seat and vehicle. Pay close attention to warnings, expiration dates and registration procedures.
- Watch car seat manufacturer installation videos on their website. Always use a reputable source to get more information on installations.
- Make sure the car seat can be installed with the LATCH system and seat belt individually. Many car seats have weight limitations on the LATCH system and you will need to install with the seat belt eventually.
- Place seat belt or LATCH strap through the proper belt path. There is only one for infant car seats and two for convertible car seats. Convertibles have a rear-facing and a forward-facing belt path. Forward-facing Combination seats have a forward-facing belt path only.
- Be sure seat belt is in locked mode if using vehicle belt. The seat belt will most likely lock at the retractor or at the latch plate.
- Pull LATCH or seat belt webbing tight.
- Check for tight fit at the belt path, only. Car seat should move less than one inch in either direction.
Securing Child in the Car Seat
- Place harness strap in the correct position. Harness straps for a rear-facing child should be placed at the shoulders or coming from just below. Forward-facing is at or just above the shoulders.
- Pull the harness straps snug and comfortable so you cannot pinch the webbing when grasping at the collar bone. The straps should lay flat on the child and not be twisted. Harness straps should be comfortably snug.
- The chest clip is a positioning device to help keep the straps on the child’s shoulders. Place the chest clip at arm pit level.
- If you are using an infant car seat, check the manual for the correct position of the carrier handle when traveling in the car.
General Safety Tips
- Choose a car seat that fits your child and vehicle correctly. Choose a seat you will use correctly every ride.
- #LookforBaby may sound silly, but we are all living more distracted lives these days. Too many children are unintentionally being left in hot cars. It can happen to anyone. Keep your purse or phone on the floor in the back seat. When you reach your destination you are more likely to remember to get those items which will help you keep an eye on baby before you lock the door.
- Check the car seat installation before every ride. Just give it a tug at the belt path to be sure it is still secured to the seat belt or with the lower anchors.
- Don’t transition children too soon. Keep them rear-facing as long as possible. Keep them in a 5 point harness and do not skip booster stage for older children. Some children do not fit in the adult seat belt until age 12.
- Set a good example for your kids and make sure all passengers are properly buckled so they stay safe as well.
- Register the car seat so you can be notified in case or any recalls.
- Do not use the car seat if it has been in a severe crash or following the instruction manual guidelines.
- Do not buy a used car seat unless you know the history, how it was stored and if has not expired.
- Follow the instruction manual for proper washing instructions. Never soak harness straps or use abrasive cleaners on any part of the car seat.