Being a young mom means we met a little early, but I get to love them longer.

Here are some links to helpful posts I have done in the past :)

Learn about car seat safety HERE!

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Car seat safety: Proper installation

Tip: Proper installation.

The base (if using an infant carrier) or the seat itself should not be able to move more than one inch in any direction. This means that you cannot just slide the buckle through and the seat be safe. You MUST tighten the belt as tight as you can get it. I do this by putting my knee in the car seat, putting all my weight into it, so that the car seat sinks down into the seat, then I tighten the belt as tight as I can get it. Once I move my knee, the car seat is nice and snug. I also check the seat every time we put the kids in. Sometimes belts can loosen from a bumpy ride or rowdy little ones, so it is best to make sure the seat is still tightly positioned. 

If you are using a LATCH system, make sure that you follow the car seat manual's instructions along with your car's manual instructions. Have both of them handy when installing the seat. As I have stated before, if you do not have one or both of the manuals, then you can typically find an electronic copy on the manufacturer's website. You will need your car's manual as well because different cars have different LATCH systems. On some, the top tether will go over the head rest, on others, it will go under the headrest... different things like that.

If you are using a seat belt, make sure you place it in the proper slots. Especially if you have a convertible car seat. There will be a slot for rear facing and a slot for forward facing. If they are mixed up during installation, then the seat will not function properly in the event of a crash, which could lead to serious injury or death. Consulting your car seat's manual will help avoid any confusion. Here is an example of how NOT to install it a car seat.

This is Markai Durham and her little girl (from 16 and Pregnant). During these car seat posts I'm doing, you will probably get to see lots of babies from 16 and Pregnant featured because I see tons and tons of car seat misuse from girls on that show :( This one is just terrible. There are about 352436 things wrong with this picture, but since we are focusing on installation in this post, the seat belt has NO business being across that baby's lap!

When installing a rear-facing seat, the seat should typically be at a 45 degree angle. Many car seats are adjustable or have adjustable bases to aid in achieving this angle. Also, a lot of newer car seats will have a line that says it should be parallel to the ground in order for the seat to be installed properly, or they will have a thing on them that, when the car seat is at the correct angle, a certain color will show. I know that both of my kids' current car seats (Safety First Alpha Elite) have the line, and both of their infant car seats (they were both Graco) had the color indicator. The color indicator can be seen in the picture below. It is the the circle on the side of the car seat. 
If you cannot achieve this angle, then you can use a shortened pool noodle under the seat. This has been certified by CPS. Brentley has one under his seat because the rear seat in my vehicle actually slopes in the opposite direction, so I could not get the line parallel to the ground without it. 

When you are using an infant carrier, the handle on the infant carrier should be positioned down. Like this...
Unless the manual that came with the car seat specifically states that it can be left in the upright position.

The rear middle seat of your car is the safest place to installed the car seat. I reduces the impact of the force no matter where your car is hit. However, once you child graduates out of a 5-point harness and into a booster (whether high-back or backless), if the middle seat in your car only has a lap belt, then your child cannot sit there. A child must have a regular seat belt (shoulder and lap) to sit in a booster. 
Also, if you have more than one little one in a car seat, it may be difficult to put a seat in the middle. When we had Brentley we could no longer use the middle seat because I could not get a proper installation with the seats that close. Brent is behind the passenger's seat, and Grace is behind the driver's seat. The middle seat will not be the safest place if you cannot get the seat properly installed.

The only time a child's car seat should ever be in the front seat of a car is when it is in a truck or two seater car that has the ability to turn the air bags to the passenger's seat off. You will need to consult your car's manual before you do this to insure that you have properly positioned the seat and turned the air bags off, and it is always safer to have the child's seat in a back seat. 



  1. I love these posts! I'm actually learning new things! :) One time, we had to leave the house, and the base of Emerson's infant seat was in another car so I had to use it without a base and the instructions actually had to put the seat belt on the babies lap, It scared me because she kept kicking it, and I was so afraid it would go loose! Luckilly we only had to do that once! We're using a rolled up towel under her car seat now, because it wasn't leaned back far enough.

  2. Yah. I used to see a lot of misuse on there too! I want to know why that baby is forward facing! Is she a year old? She looks like an infant! I have also seen where the carseats look like they are sliding all the way across the back bench. It is so sad. :/ If these shows are going to exploit these teens, they should also maybe put them through some safety classes instead of just continuing to watch them make dangerous mistakes and not saying anything. And then the people who watch it may repeat what they do because they have never heard any different. Gir. There is my rant.

    In Sam's old carrier, without the base, we had to put the seatbelt across her lap. There was actually little notches to run the seatbelt across, but that is really odd the way she is buckled in anyway. That should go through the back hole. (I don't think that is a carrier.)

  3. Like both of you stated, you can put the seat belt across most infant carriers because they have the slots, but on a car seat like in the picture, there should not be a lap belt there.a

    I agree Brittany! They definitely should offer them some classes. I understand they can't step in on camera, but they could step in off amera. I'm part of a facebook group called MTV Care About Car Seats or something like that. They have sent petitions to MTV about needing to do something to educate these girls, but they got no response :( Neither Farrah, Amber, Maci, or Catelynn (with her little brother) use car seats properly. Maci is actually one of the worst. And they are their most popular girls!
    Leah was pretty bad when her twins were babies. She's gotten better. From what I've seen, Kail and Chelsea do a pretty good job most of the time. Jenelle is still terrible, but at this point, I don't ever expect to see any improvement with her :(
    Then the girls of 16 and Pregnant... I can't really judge them because I did some of the same things, but MTV I can judge. They repeatedly film and broadcast it. It's such a shame because like you said, Brittany, people may see that and do it not knowing any better.

    As far as the baby in that picture... she is not a year old yet in that pictures, so she shouldn't be ff. And even if the seat was properly installed, her chest clip isn't buckled, the straps are too loose, and it appears they may be twisted as well. So scary!

  4. There is actually a FB page dedicated to trying to get MTV to care about car seat safety. I don't know if any of you have seen it. They have SO many pictures and screen shots of all the kids buckled in horribly wrong. One of the girls actually FF her 5 month old in a car seat made for a PRE SCHOOLER. It was horrible. She was slumped forward so bad I'm surprised she could breath at all.

    This is one of my favorite topics. I could go on and on about it. Lol.

  5. I was just talking about that page in my comment lol. That baby was Alexandria Sekella's baby in a Graco Nautilus. Have you seen the screen shots of her defending that choice tooth and nail? No matter how many times people told her, she had an excuse for everything and refused to rf her. It was pathetic.