Method 2 of 2: Check a forward-facing child safety seat installation

Step 1: Check the position of the safety seat in the car. Check whether the child safety seat was placed correctly in the vehicle, facing forward in your vehicle.

As with rear-facing safety seats, the back seat is the optimal choice of spots.

  • Warning: The safety seat should never be positioned in front of an active airbag, to prevent unnecessary harm in the case of an accident.

Step 2: Angle the seat according to the manufacturer’s directions. While most forward-facing child safety seats should be positioned upright to evenly distribute the force of a crash across a little one’s body, there are a few designed to sit at a semi-reclined position.

Check the instructions with your child’s safety seat, to find out how your safety seat model should be positioned.

Step 3: Attach the seat belt or the latch connectors. As with rear-facing safety seats, do not use both the seat belt or the latch connectors systems simultaneously.

When both the seat belt and latch system are in use, it nullifies the way either system of attachment is designed to distribute weight.

Step 4: Press the safety seat into position. Press down on the seat with your hand and take the slack out of either the seat belt or latch connectors.

This ensures a tighter fit, so that the seat stays in place in the event of an accident.

Step 5: Connect the top tether strap. Check that the top tether strap strap attaches to the top tether anchor, according to the seat’s instructions.

This strap prevents the seat from tipping forward in a collision.

Step 6: Test the seat. Wiggle the seat to ensure that there is less than one inch of movement.

If there is more than one-inch of movement, repeat steps 4 and 5, then try the wiggle test again.

  • Tip: If you have any doubts about the proper installation of your car’s child safety seat, turn to an expert for help. There are certified inspectors available for this purpose through the United States at child passenger safety seat inspection locations.

Each year, thousands of little ones are killed or otherwise injured due to the improper installation of a child safety seat. Taking the time to check a car’s child safety seat for correct installation and adjustments is a small investment of energy for the peace of mind it provides.

It is essential to check your child’s safety seat, even on short drives, since most accidents occur within a mile of home. That is why it is important to make checking safety seats each and every time you leave in a car with a child a habit.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Check a Car’s Child Safety Seat and was authored by Elan McAfee.


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