Statistics for proper car seat installation haven’t changed in more than a decade. Despite changes in federal regulations, the availability of car seat installation checks and ongoing education campaigns, three out of four car seats are installed incorrectly. While some may need minor adjustments for proper installation, others sometimes need to start from ground one. It only seems like an advanced degree may be needed in “installationology” but by starting off with the basics you’re one step closer to success.
Here are some easy tips:
The three most important things when choosing a car seat are:
- One that fits your child
- One that fits your car
- One that you will use correctly every time
You can accomplish this by:
- Have the car you will be using the seat in with you and try it out at the store.
- If possible have your child with you at the time of purchase
- Follow information in both the car seat manual and vehicle manual for installation
- Attend a car seat check for assistance in proper installation and use from a certified car seat technician
New rules for car seats using LATCH require understanding of your car seat’s weight and child’s weight:
- Car seats manufactured after February 27, 2014 are required to carry a new label with guidance on maximum weight limits for LATCH
- The combined weight should not exceed 65lbs
- Look in the manual and label on the car seat to identify the weight of the seat
- Look for a weight on the maximum weight for the child
- Know your child’s weight
- If the combined weight of the seat and your child exceeds 65lbs-install the car seat using the vehicle’s belt
It is important to know that installations with the belt or installations with LATCH are equally acceptable. However, car seats should not be installed using both methods at the same time. No matter what method is chosen be sure to finish off the installation by using the top tether.