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Installing Car Seats

There are general guidelines that apply to installing all child safety seats and more specific instructions for installing rear-facing or forward-facing seats. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has developed videos that demonstrate how to install different types of child safety seats and how to properly position children in the seats. To be redirected to those videos, click on this link

General Guidelines

Take all passengers into consideration when deciding the safest seating scenario.

Statistically, the back seat is much safer than the front seat. NHTSA recommends that all children 12 and under should ride in the back seat.

The center-most seating position, typically the rear middle, is the safest position in the vehicle as long as the child safety seat can be installed properly in that position.

As a rule of thumb, a child safety seat should be secured to the vehicle seat so snuggly that it doesn’t move more than one (1) inch back to front or side to side. To test the installation, place your hands on each side of the seat at the location where the seat belt or lower anchors are routed. Pull forward and move side to side.

If you want to install your child safety seat with a seat belt, read your vehicle owner’s manual to learn how to lock your seat belts for use with a child safety seat. Some vehicle seat belts require you to pull the shoulder belt webbing completely out and then let it wind back up in order to properly install a CSS. Some vehicle seat belts require use of supplemental hardware, such as a locking clip. Click here to learn more about locking clips.

f you want to install your child safety seat with the LATCH system instead of a seat belt, read your owner’s manual to determine where the anchors are located in your vehicle and how long this method can be used.