Child Car Seat Installation
Tim Tichy, Public Safety Manager National Safety Council Nebraska
Any seat that you have, it’s important that you use it correctly and it’s installed correctly. If it’s easy to use, it is more likely that you are going to use it correctly.
First off what I do, I’ll press on it, just trying to simulate how much pressure, and then I want to check the angle indicator, and this one has a nice bubble indicator so that looks like it is going to be right. Now I am going to take the belt through the belt path. You should always read your manual first for your vehicle and your child safety seat. I am going to pull it tight and we are going to pull on the shoulder belt portion. Make sure there are no twists in the belt. Pull on the shoulder belt portion so it pulls the lap belt down onto the seat. This particular seat has a nice feature called a lock off. I am going to hold that tight and keep that stretched and pulled through there. Now it is locked in place. I move this side to side, front to back, and it should move less than one inch. Then you are going to double check that your angle indicator is still correct like you thought it would be and it is locked tight and correct and we are ready to put the carrier on top. You are going to put it down on there, make sure you lock it down and it clicks. Each manufacturer will have a different position where you can have the handle. Read your owner’s manual and know which handle position you can have while in a vehicle.
If you have a car that has latch features then your car seat is going to have latch features. You can use the lower anchor straps on the infant seat. It has a storage compartment there so that they are not projectiles in a crash. You are going to hook them right on there. Then you are going to double check to see if it is going to go in the right place once you tighten it. This one has a feature where you just pull on this tight and it rocks in place.
Here we have a convertible seat and it is typically seen as a second stage but in all actuality if you are trying to stretch your dollar you can start an infant out in a convertible seat. You just don’t have the convenience of a carry handle because a convertible seat stays in the vehicle. It gets its name (convertible) because once they reach the weight limit for rear facing, you can convert it to a forward facing seat with a harness. Here we are going to show you how to do the rear facing installation. It has a foot on it and each model has a different type of foot or it might not have a foot and it might just be angled. Place it in place. I put some pressure on it and I check the angle to see what it is going to look like once it is tight. This one has an angle indicator right here. It is the arrow embedded in the plastic and that needs to be leveled to the ground that you are parked on. You notice that once I put my weight on there it is facing down a little bit. The footing did not give me enough angle to be correct for an infant seat. So, what you do is you can take a thick rolled up towel or pool noodles cut to the width of the base and taped up and you can stuff them here to give it an angle. Look for a place where you can reach through the fabric to get to the belt path. If it doesn’t have a space where you can do that, see if you can temporarily remove the cover so you can get to the belt path easily. Take your belt through the belt path under the fabric and back out the other side, buckle it, and hit your pressure on the seat, pull on the shoulder belt portion only, take the slack out. Then you test it. Make sure it moves side to side and front to back. Then you place your cover.
Finding the right car seat and installing it correctly will keep your child safe. Tim Tichy, Community Safety Manager with The National Safety Council Nebraska, demonstrates the installation of an infant and convertible car seat.