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Installing Rear-Facing Child Safety Seats

1. NEVER install a rear-facing child safety seat in front of an active airbag

2. Place the seat in the vehicle facing the rear

3. If there is a carrying handle, it may be required to be back or in the down position. Please refer to your instruction manual for details.

4. Angle the child safety seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Rear-facing child safety seats are installed semi-reclined. This position helps keep a baby’s head back against the child safety seat. Rear-facing only seats usually have a feature that lets you know if the seat is installed at the correct angle. Some even have a “foot” on the detachable base that can be adjusted so that you can more easily achieve the correct angle.
  • If allowed by the child safety seat manufacturer, a tightly rolled towel or portion of a foam pool noodle may be used under a rear-facing child safety seat at the vehicle seat crack to get or maintain a proper angle (never use the towel or pool noodle for a forward-facing child safety seat installation).

5. Thread the seat belt through the proper seat belt path. Or, if you are using the LATCH system, make sure the LATCH strap is threaded through the proper seat belt path. Do not use both the vehicle seat belt and the LATCH system at the same time. Choose the system that gives the best fit. Click here to learn more about LATCH.

6. Buckle the seat belt. Or, if you are using the LATCH system, hook the connectors on the child safety seat to the corresponding vehicle anchors. Do not use a top tether on a rear-facing seat unless the instruction manual allows it.

7. Place a hand in the child safety seat to compress the vehicle seat cushion

8. Pull all the slack out of the lap portion of the seat belt or the LATCH strap

9. If there is still more than one inch movement, your child safety seat may not work in that seating position or in that particular vehicle. There may also be a special fix that a trained child passenger safety technician can help you with. To find a certified child passenger safety technician or child safety seat inspection site in Indiana click here. To find a child safety seat inspection site outside Indiana click here.

10. If you are installing a rear-facing only seat with a detachable base, click the seat into the base after the base is installed.