Up next in Driving & Car Safety (28 videos)
Stay safe on the road with the important information in this car and driver video series.
You Will Need
- A car seat
- The manufacturer's instruction manual
- Your vehicle's manual
- A swimming pool noodle
Use the correct seat
Buy an appropriate safety seat for your child's age, weight, and height. Babies should ride in a rear-facing seat at least until they are a year old and weigh 20 pounds.
Look for the LATCH system
Check your seat and vehicle owner manuals to see if your car is equipped with the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, or LATCH, system. Cars and seats manufactured after 2002 have LATCH.
Position the seat
Place the safety seat on the appropriate seat in your car according to the instructions. If your safety seat has a detachable base, position the base without the seat.
Attach the seat
Attach the seat using the LATCH connectors, according to the manual. If not using LATCH, thread the car's seatbelt through the seat's belt paths and buckle the belt.
Weigh it down
Kneel on the safety seat or seat base, and tighten the LATCH belts or seat belt, using your weight to get as snug a fit as possible.
Use a locking clip if necessary
Use a locking clip with a seat belt installation for a tighter fit. Unbuckle the belt, install the clip, and then buckle the belt again. It should be so tight that it is difficult to buckle.
Check the latch plate
Make sure the seat belt's latch plate is below the belt path. If not, twist the belt buckle up two full turns to lower it, and re-buckle the belt.
Connect the top tether
Attach the top tether on forward-facing LATCH safety seats and tighten securely. Do not attach the tether to a cargo hook or the vehicle seat adjuster.
Check the installation
Make sure you cannot move the safety seat more than an inch from side to side. If in doubt, have your installation checked at an inspection station. Find one in your area at safekids.org.