Car Seat Installation Tips
Recommended by the National Child Passenger Safety Certification Program
Always consider the needs of
Although there may be many
seating positions in a vehicle, not all may be suitable for installing a child
restraint. The child restraint manufacturer's instructions and/or the vehicle
owner's manual may not allow certain vehicle positions to be used.
It is recommended that all
children under 13 ride in a back seat to avoid contact with the front seat air
bag system. They are almost always safer in the back.
As long as the child restraint
fits, the center rear seating position may be the safer position because it is
furthest from impact and intrusion from any direction. However, some
center-rear facing positions are not usable, and many families transport more
than one child.
Always ask, "Who rides in
the vehicle? Where will each person sit?"
Check the child restraint for
a secure installation. Make sure there is less than 1 inch (25 mm) of movement
when when pulling forward and side-to-side at the vehicle belt path.
What is LATCH?
LATCH, which stands for “Lower
Anchors and Tethers for CHildren”, is designed to make proper car seat
The LATCH system has two
permanent anchors at the base of vehicle’s rear seats and a top anchor behind
each seating position in all vehicles. These anchors are specifically designed
for car seat tethers and hooks.
LATCH is standard in all cars
manufactured after September 1, 2002, and eliminates the need for the use of
passenger seatbelts to secure the car seat.
The single lower attachment
strap on most convertible child restraints must be switched to utilize the
correct path for rear- and forward-facing positions. In doing so, it is
important to make sure that the strap is in the correct location and not
twisted (if possible). If your LATCH attachments do not reach the vehicle hooks
they are probably in the wrong position. For specific instructions on how to
use your child restraint's LATCH system, refer to your owner's manual.
Click here for more
information about LATCH.
Rear-Facing Child Restraint
The child restraint spreads
crash forces along the entire head, neck, and back.
The correct position helps
keep the airway open.
Parents should use the angle
given in the child restraint manufacturer's instructions (30 to 45 degrees).
Not all manufacturers
recommend the same angle. Always consult the child restraint manufacturer's
instructions for how to obtain the proper angle.
Do not recline more than 45
degrees from vertical.
As baby ages and obtains
better head control, he or she may sit more upright. This can actually provide
for improved crash protection.
Checklist for Choosing Where
to Install your Child Restraint:
- The back seat is the safest
- Consider air bag effects
- Consider the needs of other
- Choose seat belt or lower
- Check for a secure