Car Seat Installation Tips
- What: Use your body to your advantage
- Why: Get the tightest attachment possible
- Where: Your vehicle
If you’ve ever installed a car seat, you already know it resembles a wrestling match. I’m never sure what animal I’m up against, but even in the middle of winter, getting that sucker in there tight enough to make sure it protects my precious cargo always works up a sweat.
I have one major tip for installing any car seat. Brand doesn’t matter. Using the seat belt, or LATCH doesn’t make a difference. Location isn’t important. However you do it, whether you want to put your car seat front-facing, middle of the seat, or in the back row, I recommend doing one thing: putting all your body weight into it when you tighten the seat belt or LATCH straps.
To do that, place one knee of your choice in the center of the seat, which should cause the seat to sink even further into the upholstery. Once you have all your weight on that knee, which means your feet dangle in mid-air (or depending on the size of your vehicle and family, rub against the front seat or bump into another car seat), you can pull with all your might on the seat belt or LATCH connectors to get the seat extra secure. For a rear-facing seat, come at it from the side and get your knee in the lowest part where your kid’s bum rests.
Another little handy tip: if you use a seat belt installation (either your car doesn’t have LATCH anchors in the right place or doesn’t have enough), make sure you pull the seat belt as far out as it will go. It should make a little ratcheting noise when retracting to indicate it’s locking into place. Without that noise, all your hard work goes to waste and the belt allows the seat to wriggle all over the place. If you can’t hold the seat belt out (to prevent it from retracting before you’re ready) to tighten it, try grabbing an edge in your teeth while you pull to secure the car seat. Then you can let go with your mouth and listen for the ratcheting noise to confirm the seatbelt locks after you’ve adjusted the path or anything else that helps get the belt tighter.
If my seats budge in any direction, I’m unhappy and I start over again.