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Traverse City Mi 49686
Garfield Auto Service Center
725 S Garfield Ave
Traverse City Mi 49686
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How To Safely Install A Car Seat

January 12, 2021, 12:00 am

When leaving the hospital with a newborn, the last thing the nurse hands you isn’t a how-to manual for caring for your child. The nurse doesn’t check the baby’s pulse, or yours, and they don’t offer any safety advice. The last bit of help the hospital gives you as you leave is checking your car seat. 

For any new parent, taking care of your child immediately becomes the top priority of nearly every waking second. With everything being novel, foreign, and a mix between exciting and terrifying, it’s no wonder checking how to install and adjust a car seat isn’t at the top of a new parent’s to-do list. 

And it shows. According to experts, as many as 90% of new parents have the car seat installed incorrectly or may be using the car seat dangerously. From the seat belt or straps, positioning, and even what goes in the seat with the baby, here are just a few tips and plenty of resources for hitting the road with your child safely. 

Installation. Perhaps the most important place to start when installing your child's seat is the instructional manual. Manufacturers are extremely diligent when it comes to providing detailed, step-by-step instructions to ensure a safe installation, as well as highlighting a number of other key bits of information about specific small parts and features. It’s extremely important that you refer to the manual first, especially if your seat requires any kind of assembly. If you bought your seat second-hand or received a used one from a friend or family member, take the time to look up the manual online, or contact the manufacturer directly for a copy made for your model. 

Car seats should never be installed in the front passenger seat. The safest place is the middle of the backseat, which puts your child away from the passenger side air bags. When deployed, air bags can cause a suffocation hazard. 

Car seats should also face backward. Most infant and baby car seats will be designed to work rear-facing, though some older models may allow for them to be reversed. Having your child’s seat face rearwards for as long as possible and for good reason; babies are 71% less likely to be injured or killed when they face the rear of the vehicle. 

Installing your seat is easier now than it was in the old days. Legislation passed nearly two decades ago that required all vehicles made in 2002 or newer to include a LATCH system. These attachments are dedicated anchors for car seats that are located at the base of your back seat. Most manufacturers have their LATCH anchor points labeled, but if you have any difficulty locating them, refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual. 

Finally, if you have questions about the safety of your car seat, contact a local car dealership, police station, or fire department to schedule a quick inspection. They’ll show you how to safely install any car seat and provide you with more materials to keep your child safe as they grow out of infant car seats. 

For a more detailed look at car seat installation and different methods for different attachments, check out this great guide from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. 


Posted by Garfield Auto at 12:00 am
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