Car Seat Dictionary

Deciphering Car Seat Lingo

3-in-1 Car Seat: Car seat that can be installed rear-facing, front-facing, or used as a booster

3-in-1 Booster Seat: A booster seat that can be used with a five point harness, as a highback booster or backless booster using the vehicle seat belt to restrain the child instead of the harness such as the Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Booster Seat

Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Booster Seat

Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Booster seat

Anchor: Attachment point for car seat installation built into your vehicle; comes in both lower (LATCH) and top (Tether) types

Angle Indicator: built into all rear-facing car seats, a bubble in a tube or picture that tells you if the angle of installation is correct once you install the car seat in your vehicle; prevents infants’ heads from flopping forward

Angle indicator line on a Britax Marathon convertible car seat

Angle Indicator on a Britax Marathon convertible car seat: The red text on the white line reads: Angle Guide For Rear-Facing Installations

Backless Booster Seat: A car seat that only covers the bottom of the vehicle seat to raise a child to the correct position for using the seat belt in vehicles with headrests and high seat backs

Belt Positioning Booster Seat: Car seat that provides height and leg support to position a vehicle seat belt correctly for older children

Booster seat: Car seat used to position the vehicle seat belt over the strongest parts of a child’s body for school-aged children who have outgrown their seats; these seats rest on top of the vehicle seat but do not use anchors to secure it to the vehicle seat

Chest Clip: Plastic buckle attached to the webbing of a five point harness fastened at armpit level on infants and children

Chest clip on harness of Britax Marathon convertible car seat

Chest Clip on a Britax Marathon convertible car seat attached to five point harness

Combination Seats: A booster seat that can be used installed forward-facing with either a five point harness or as a vehicle seat belt positioning booster without the harness such as the Cosco Highback Booster Seat

Cosco Highback Booster Seat

Cosco Highback Booster Seat shown with five point harness removed and using the seat belt to hold it in place while empty so it doesn’t move in case of an accident and become a projectile

Convertible Seat: A car seat that can be installed facing either the front or the rear of the vehicle used for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers such as the Britax Marathon or Britax Roundabout

Britax Marathon converitble car seat installed front facing

Britax Marathon convertible car seat installed front facing next to a 3 in 1 Graco Nautilus booster seat for comparison

Five Point Harness: A car seat belt that goes over both shoulders, from the sides of both hips, and between the legs attaching to the car seat at those five points to restrain infants and children

Five point harness restraint on a Britax Marathon convertible car seat

Five Point Harness on a Britax Marathon convertible car seat

Front Facing: A car seat installed facing the front of the vehicle

Harness: The belt with buckle and clip installed in a car seat to restrain infants and children

Five point harness restraint on a Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 booster seat

Harness on a Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Booster Seat

Highback Booster Seat: A booster seat that covers the bottom and back of the vehicle seat to position a school-aged child to use the vehicle seat belt

Infant Car Seat: A car seat shaped like a bucket that can only be installed rear facing and typically includes a rotating carrying handle across the top; the seat can be detached from the installed base portion in the vehicle; one infant seat can be used with multiple base portions to move easily between vehicles

Infant in infant car seat on floor

Infant car seat removed from vehicle and sitting on the floor

Lap Belt: A vehicle seat belt that only goes across the lap and does not include an upper portion for wearing over one shoulder; some vehicles have separate shoulder and lap belts that can be detached from one another

LATCH: Acronym for Lower Anchors and Tether for CHildren; anchors for attaching car seats securely to the vehicle located in the back seat where the seat cushions meet; cars manufactured after Sept 1, 2002 have LATCH installed in the rear passenger seats.

Latch Anchor attaching Britax Marathon convertible car seat to vehicle

LATCH Lower Anchor: You can see the red release button for the LATCH attachments on the Britax Marathon car seat; you cannot see the LATCH anchor itself which is hidden between the bottom and back seat cushions of the vehicle

Lock Offs: A clip built into the car seat itself under the padding that keeps the vehicle seat belt tight and prevents the vehicle seat belt from moving when using seat belt installation

Britax Roundabout convertible car seat shell without foam or padding showing lock off locations

Lock Offs can be seen in red (for forward facing installation) and blue (for rear facing installation) on this Britax Roundabout convertible car seat shell with foam and padding removed. One blue lock off is shown opened.

Close up of a lock off in a convertible car seat

Lock Off shown close up in the closed position on a convertible car seat.

Rear Facing: A car seat that faces the back of the vehicle

Seat Belt: The installed safety restraints in a vehicle

Seat Belt Installation: Using the vehicle’s seat belt to securely attach a car seat to the vehicle as opposed to using LATCH installation; must be used once the combined weight of the car seat and child reach 65 lbs 

Shoulder Belt: The upper portion of the vehicle seat belt that goes across one shoulder

Tether: Top anchor built into your vehicle located behind and above the seat cushion, either on the back panel, ceiling, floor, or back of the seat itself

Britax Boulevard tether attached to back of vehicle seat

Tether attaching Britax Boulevard to the rear of the vehicle seat

Top Anchor: The anchor point for installation located behind and above the seat cushion in one of the following locations – back panel, ceiling, floor, or back of the vehicle seat itself; also known as Tether

Two tether top anchors attached to the back of a vehicle seat one from convertible car seat and one from 3 in 1 booster seat

Two Top Anchors attached to the rear of a vehicle seat; the one of the left comes from a Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 booster seat and the one on the right from a Britax Boulevard convertible car seat

Webbing: material used to manufacture vehicle seat belts, car seat harnesses, LATCH attachments, and tethers

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