car seats

The Right Fit —
Car Seat Installation

Tips for installing a car seat properly. If a car seat is not installed correctly, your child's safety could be in danger. Every car seat has different installation instructions. Here are key items to keep in mind when installing a car seat. For more information and videos, click on the car seat icons below or on the left navigation.

Installing the Car Seat
  • Read the car seat instruction manual and the portion of your vehicle's owner's manual on car seat installation. Every car seat needs to be installed using either the lower anchors of the LATCH system or the seat belt to secure it in place. If you choose to use a seat belt to install your car seat, pay close attention to how to lock your seat belt in the vehicle owner's manual. Because every car seat and vehicle is different, it's important to follow all instructions carefully.
  • Place the car seat in the back seat of your vehicle and follow the manufacturer's installation directions.
  • The car seat must be secured tightly in the vehicle. It should not move side-to-side or front-to-back more than 1 inch when pulled at the belt path.
  • If it is a forward-facing seat and has a top tether strap, connect it to the tether anchor and tighten. This step is very important as it limits forward head movement in a crash.
  • If it is a rear-facing seat, make sure the car seat is installed at the correct recline angle. Most car seats have built in angle indicators or adjustors that help with this step.

If you have questions, trained Child Passenger Safety Technicians can help you. Many local fire and police stations offer free seat-checks. Look for an inspection station near you.

Fitting Your Child Correctly in the Car Seat:
  • Properly position the harness on your child.
    • Rear-facing – Harness straps should lie flat, not twisted, and be placed through the slot that is at or below your child's shoulders.
    • Forward-facing – Harness straps should lie flat, not twisted, and be placed through the slot that is at or above your child's shoulders.
  • Buckle the harness and the chest clip and tighten.
    • The harness is snug enough when extra material cannot be pinched at the shoulder.
  • Make sure the chest clip is at armpit level.