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How To Correctly Install Your Car Seat

Jul 25, 2008
The first step is to become familiar with the locations of the airbags within your vehicle. All new automobiles are installed with driver and passenger air bags for the front seats. With the combination of seats belts, air bags are very effective in preventing major injury or even death from a car accident. However, air bags can be very dangerous to little children, especially those sitting in rear-facing car safety seats, and to children who are not properly positioned within their seat belt. If your automobile with active front passenger air bags, children riding in rear-facing car seats only should ride in the rear seat. Tests of shown that, ven in a relatively low-speed crash, an air bag can deploy, striking the car seat, and causing brain and neck injury or even death for the child.

Automobiles without a rear seat, are not the best choice for traveling with children in car seats. But some cars do have the option to deactivate the front passenger air bag, for the use of car seats in the front seat of the automobile. It's highly recommend to review your vehicle owner's manual for complete information.

Additionally, many new automobiles have side air bags for improved safely during a side-impact crash. If you automobile has side air bags, review both your vehicle owners manual and the car seat manual for instructions on proper car seat placement.

The second step is proper latching or attaching the car seat to the vehicle. Many vehicles have a LATCH system that eliminates the need to use seat belts to secure the car safety seat. Vehicles with a LATCH system have anchors located in the back seat. Car safety seats that come with LATCH have attachments that fasten to these anchors. Nearly all passenger vehicles and all car safety seats made on or after September 1, 2002, come with LATCH. However, unless both your vehicle and the car safety seat have this anchor system, you will still need to use seat belts to install the car safety seat.

If you have questions or need help installing your car safety seat, find a certified CPS Technician. A list of certified CPS Technicians is available by state or ZIP code on the NHTSA Web site. A list inspection stations where you can go to learn how to correctly install a car safety seat is available in English and Spanish at Seat Check's Web Site.

It only takes a few minutes to properly install a car seat, and only a few second to safely buckle up your child. It's a small effort to ensure your child is safe.
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