Child Safety Seat Installation
Lower anchors have weight limits set by the vehicle and car seat manufacturers. You can determine the lower anchor weight limit by checking the warning label or installation diagrams located on the side of the car seat. If your car seat does not have a label, you can determine the maximum allowable child weight for lower anchor use by subtracting the weight of the car seat (usually available in the car seat’s instruction manual) from 65 pounds.
Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat because it’s safer there.
Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
Once you’ve become familiar with vehicle and car seat parts used for installation and NHTSA’s tips to install your car seat, you’re ready to follow these detailed car seat installation instructions and videos by type.
In the span of 10 minutes, a car can heat up by 20 degrees, enough to kill a child left alone in a vehicle. Children are at a higher risk than adults of dying from heatstroke in a hot vehicle, especially when they are too young to alert others for help.
Heatstroke is one of the leading causes of non-crash-related fatalities among children. Vehicle heatstroke occurs when a child is left in a hot vehicle, allowing for the child’s temperature to rise in a quick and deadly manner. Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees and the thermoregulatory system is overwhelmed. A core body temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal. Unfortunately, even great parents can forget a child in the back seat. Other risk factors include caregivers who aren’t used to driving kids, or whose routine suddenly changes.
Once your child outgrows the vehicle or car seat manufacturer’s established limits for the lower anchors, stop using the lower anchor attachments and reinstall the car seat using the vehicle’s seat belt.
Congratulations—you chose the right car seat and installed it correctly. Now it’s time to register your car seat with the manufacturer to receive recalls and safety notices so your child can remain safe. Also, you can sign up with NHTSA to receive e-mail alerts about car seat and booster seat recalls.
Your child’s safety could be in jeopardy if your car seat is not installed correctly. Before you install your car seat, make sure you’re familiar with vehicle and car seat parts used in the installation process and these important installation safety tips.