These are some basic guidelines to follow when positioning a child in a child safety seat. Always read the owner’s manual for your child safety seat to learn how to make adjustments for your specific seat.
There are videos available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that demonstrate proper positioning in child safety seats and boosters.
Positioning Your Child in a Five-Point Harness
1. Place your child in the seat with her back and bottom flat against the seat. Do not place any padding behind or under the child. In a crash, padding can compress and the harness may be too loose to keep the child properly in the seat. Thick winter coats should also be avoided for this reason.
2. Make sure the harness straps are through the correct slots based on the direction your child will be facing in the vehicle.
For rear-facing child safety seats, the harness should be at or slightly below the child’s shoulders.
For forward-facing child safety seats the harness should be at or slightly above the child’s shoulders.