Car Seat Installation and Safety


Websites for Car Safety Information:

American Assocation of Pediatrics

National Transportation and Safety Administration   

The Car Seat Lady

Safety Belt Safe

The Car Crash Detective's Car Seat Page

Consumer Reports

  • "Consumer Reports also put out a review (Jan. 2017) on convertible car seats; they used new/advanced testing protocols."


Car seat safety tips:


What is not allowed:


What you child should not wear when in a car seat:

  • Baby/Child should not be wearing a lot of thick clothes when in the seat.
  • A thick padded down suit is not good. This allows for more slack between the baby's body and the safety straps.


What ot know about car seat direction:

  • Recommendations for whether a child's feet touch the back seat of the car have changed, but most people don't know this. It is ok for your child's feet to touch the back seat of the car when the seat is rear facing; you don't have to turn the seat to be front-facing when the feet touch the seat: what is more important in deciding when to switch is the weight/height specifications for your specific seat. Once your child exceeds either the height or weight specs for your seat, you turn  it around.
    • "I was concerned that my eight month old kiddo was running out of room for her legs in her rear-facing infant seat. Ha! After reading up, I now know that you want to keep your kiddo rear-facing as long as you can do so safely-- as in probably through preschool long time (aka: 40-50lbs)! (1-2 year olds were five times safer in side impact crashes when rear-facing than forward-facing according to a 2007 Injury Prevention article cited by the Car Seat Lady.)"
    • "Kiddos' legs seem cramped rear-facing? It's totally fine for the kiddos to cross their legs, etc when they are rear-facing. Seems odd to us adults but it's safe for the kiddos."


What kind of car seats to use:

  • There's also a range of types of car seats for us to consider to use with our kiddos once we branch out from the infant seats: * Convertibles - can be used for rear and forward-facing (many also have an infant seat option, too) * Multimode/all-in-one-- can be used for rear and forward-facing plus have a booster for after the kiddo has height/weighted out of being able to be forward-facing with the seat harness.
  • The difference between a forward-facing car seat and a high-backed booster is that the former has the kiddo using the car seat's harness and the latter has the kiddo using the car's seat belt, itself.
  • For convertible car seats I have a few things to add:
    • These can really differ in weight. The heavier ones tend to be more comfortable for the kids to sit in. These are the ones that stay permanently in a car. If you don't own a car or you're mostly using the car seat for air travel you should look carefully at the weight of the car seat. There are some really light ones.
    • If you're planning to use one for air travel make sure you have one that is FAA approved. I've had flight attendants check to make sure ours had the FAA sticker on the back.
    • Width can be important if you're planning to have three car seats in the back. Only certain car seats and certain cars allow for 3 car seats.  


General safety reminder:

  • "I figured that we had until our kiddo is one to make the decision but the CR cited research that shows that at 12 months, kiddos are hitting their heads in accidents more in their infant seats than convertibles. Best to check with your pediatrician with this decision. I'm just sharing info not providing advice."


PSP-member reviewed neighborhood resources:

Family friendly car services with car seats and boosters

Car seat Installation