There is no two ways about it; you absolutely need to make sure that your little ones are in a car seat at all times in the car. Whether they are rear facing or forward facing, they are much safer in a car seat than they would ever be without one. So it’s up to you, mom and dad, to be sure that you know how to install a car seat properly.
There is a lot that you need to consider when you get down to the business of installing a car seat, which can make the installation process seem a bit daunting. But don’t worry, friend! I’m here to make it as simple as possible! Well, no time like the present, so let’s get started!
Rear Facing Is Best
Before we get talking about how you’re going to install the seat, I need to get this off of my chest. There are lots of parents out there that, for reasons I don’t understand, turn their child’s car seat around as early as possible. While it might seem like a huge inconvenience (it isn’t) for you, and you might think your kid is uncomfortable rear facing (they’re not), they are up to 500% safer rear facing than forward facing.
To put it simply, turning your kid around too early could result in their DEATH. Not to be overly dramatic, but I’d much rather keep my kid alive, since, you know, it’s my job! A young child’s body is not designed to withstand the trauma that comes with a car crash while facing forward. Their heads and necks are not strong enough to deal with the tremendous force. So, please, keep them rear facing for as long as possible!
If you have a newer car, you can utilize something called the LATCH system to install your kid’s car seat. This system is relatively easy to use and will keep your kid just as safe a seat belt. Basically, there are some hooks inside the back seat of your car, which the LATCH system attaches to. You then pull the straps tight, and voila! Your car seat is installed.
Your other installation option will be a seat belt. While this can give you a secure install, seatbelts are a bit harder to get tight in comparison to the LATCH system. If you do want to use a seatbelt, be sure to pull it all the way out before you tighten it. This will cause it to lock and not become loose after you tighten. You’ll know that it has switched to this mode because you’ll hear a clicking noise as you tighten it up.
Before you install with either system, read your car’s owner manual to be sure that you can install them correctly. The LATCH system is much easier to use than a seatbelt, but will not work in every vehicle.
You also need to think about how big the seat is and if it will fit in your vehicle. If for instance, you have a smaller car, you would need to be sure that you have the best convertible car seat for a compact car, which would allow you to install the seat in a smaller amount of space safely.
Park On Level Ground
Car seats need to be installed so that certain parts of them are level with the ground. This is usually shown with a bubble level or a line. To ensure that your installation is fully level, be sure to park your car on a level surface before you install the seat.
Location, Location, Location
The safest spot in your car is in the backseat in the middle. However, your car might not have LATCH hooks in the middle seat. So, if you want to use this system, you’ll have to move it to either side. If you pick a larger seat, you might have to move it to a particular spot as well. Try it out in a couple of different locations in your car and pick the one that will offer you the safest, easiest install.
Put Your Back Into It
I have personally never installed a car seat without breaking into a mild sweat. Honestly, sometimes I am drenched and gasping for air when I am done. This is because I want to make sure that the seat is as securely installed as humanly possible.
To achieve this, I’ll place the seat in the proper position and get behind it. You’ll probably have to move one of the front seats to get there. Once there, you should put your full weight on the seat and start tightening. Once you have it as tight as possible, try to make it tighter. After that, try again! Like I said before, this is your child’s life, and you don’t to leave anything to chance!
Safe And Secure!
Phew! Thank goodness we have that taken care of! Hopefully, you’re feeling a bit more comfortable now with installing your baby’s car seat. Just remember, if you do it correctly, you’ll be exhausted!
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please let me know in the comments section below. Have a great day!