Proper Installation of Your Baby’s Car Seat

Basic Guidelines
Every state requires that infants and children ride buckled up.

Using a car safety seat correctly can help prevent injuries to your infant. The biggest mistake new parents make is keeping the new car seat they received as a shower gift in the box. Many new dads come to the hospital with it STILL IN THE BOX for the nurses to help put it in the car. THEY WON’T.

It is your responsibility to know the proper installation of your baby’s car seat. Go to a car seat safety class at your hospital or clinic. If they do not offer this class, check with your car dealership to see if they can guide you to a class. The National Highway and Traffic Safety website,, has child safety inspection station locations. Take the time to know how important it is for proper installation of the seat, harnesses and buckles, and how to position them. Car seats can be hard to install and use correctly without instruction and help. It is a good idea to practice installing and adjusting the car seat before the birth of your baby. If you have trouble at first, you have time to practice and get the proper help that you need.

A baby needs a safety car seat from the moment he takes his very first ride home from the hospital. Although you may feel like it is safer to hold that baby in your arms, IT IS NOT!  An infant car seat should state that it complies with the Federal Vehicle Safety Standard 213.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children should ride in rear-facing child safety seats as long as possible. New research indicates toddlers are more than 5 times safer, according to the AAP, riding rear-facing in a convertible car safety seat until they reach the maximum height and weight recommendation for that particular model, or at least to the age of 2. For more information, visit

The “best” car safety seat is one that fits your newborn and can be set up the right way for your car. You must use it EVERY time you take your baby in the car. Using a car seat correctly makes all the difference in the world.

It does not matter if it is the most expensive…if it is not installed properly, it may not protect your baby.

Facts about baby’s car seat safety:

    • An infant in a rear-facing seat should not be used in front of an active airbag.
    • The safest place is in the middle of the back seat (depending on the car).

Infant-only seats may come with more than one harness slot. They allow room for your baby to grow. In the rear-facing position, the harness usually should be in the slots at or below your baby’s shoulders. Check the car safety seat manufacturer’s instructions to be sure.