It’s something none of us want to think about. The facts are clear, however. Thousands of children are injured and killed in automobile accidents each year, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most of these injuries and deaths can be attributed to the fact that three out of four car seats are installed improperly. While the basic installation steps are the same for most infant car seats, it’s a good idea to inquire at the hospital when you have your baby and determine whether they have a safety seat inspector available to check your rear-facing car seat for proper installation before your first trip home.
Read both the infant car seat manual and your car owner’s manual to familiarize yourself with the specific seat installation features and parts of each.
Locate the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) anchors in the back seat of the car and the corresponding LATCH connectors on the car seat base. Typically, the car seat LATCH components will be belts with a hook-like connector on the end.
Place the infant car seat base in the center of the back seat, facing the back of the seat. It should rest flat against the seat and the seat back with one LATCH anchor on either side of the seat.
Hook the furthest LATCH connector into the seat anchor, tugging on the strap to ensure that it has fully engaged.
Kneel on the car seat base, and snap the second LATCH connector into the corresponding anchor. Kneeling on the base will compress the seat of the car, ensuring that your infant car seat is as secure as possible.
Pull all slack from the car LATCH anchor belt. Your infant car seat base is now installed properly, and you can extract yourself from the back seat of the car.
- Not all car seats will fit in all vehicles.
- flower seat image by Beth Van Trees from Fotolia.com