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The Importance of Properly Installing A Car Seat

Mar 27, 2008
Installing a car seat can be a daunting task, but it is vital in ensuring the safety of your child while riding in a motor vehicle. When a car seat is not properly installed, several problems can arise. First, the seat may be loose and uncomfortable for the baby; second, there is unnecessary wear and tear on both the seat of the car and the car seat; and third, the baby can be seriously injured or even killed in the instance of a car accident. There have been many cases in which children have been seriously injured due to improperly installed car seats and, then again, there have been many children saved as a result of a car seat that has been installed properly.

Nevertheless, It doesn't matter if you're running down the street for a loaf of bread or going to buy today's newspaper, it is important that the car seat be installed properly and the baby be placed inside of it correctly. Here are some steps to take when installing a rear-facing baby car seat:

If installing in a car, make sure the car seat is installed in the back seat. If installing in a truck, then the seat needs to be installed in the middle of the seat. However, if there is a back seat, baby should always be there because of air bags and other factors that could cause harm in case of an incident.

The car seat should always be positioned to where the baby is facing the back. The car seat should not be straight up, but it should be positioned in such a way that the baby is lying down.

If at all possible, place baby's car seat in the middle of the back seat, which can reduce impact in case of an accident.

Make sure the seat belt is tight around the car seat and that it is buckled tightly.

When installing a forward-facing car seat, there are also some very important things to keep in mind when properly installing the car seat:

First, the car seat should always be located in the back seat of the car and never in the front seat due to airbags and the possibility of injury from the windshield in case of an accident.

Move the front seat that the car seat will be located behind forward to get it out of the way and allow for enough room to work.

Second, go ahead and route the seatbelt through the designated belt path and be sure to pull the seatbelts as tight as possible and then buckle the seatbelt.

Some seatbelts have a lock-off clip, which can be quite useful. If you don't know how to use it, read the owner manual. If the seatbelt pulls all the way out and then clicks when it retracts, then the seatbelt locks itself. The locking clip should be used if the seatbelts do not lock themselves.

The shoulder part of the seatbelt must be locked because it is actually the lap section of the seatbelt that is keeping the car seat in place.

After installation, try moving the seat. If it moves more than an inch, then it needs to be tightened or reinstalled.

By following these steps for installing rear-facing and forward-facing car seats, your child should be receiving the maximum safety that a car seat has to offer. That way, if an accident does occur, the chances of your child becoming seriously injured is considerably less than if riding in a car seat that is not properly installed.
About the Author
Infant safety is not something to be taken lightly. If you're unsure of how to properly install a car seat, contact your local auto club for advice.
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