I remember the days when I would install car seats for my kids, carefully following the instructions on a piece of paper or watching an old YouTube video to keep them safely in place. While the process of installing a child’s car seat has not changed a lot, having kids has made me realise just how complex an operation it can be.
Whether you are a new parent or an experienced one, this article will tell you what you need to know about securing a car seat for your child.
The process of installing a car seat is actually quite straight forward. You will need to follow these steps to get it done right.
First off, you will need to find a safe and properly fitted vehicle seat for your car. When shopping for a car seat, pay particular attention to the weight limit and fitting information to ensure you will be able to use it safely in your vehicle. If you are still using a plastic car seat, you will also need to purchase an additional cushion to take the pressure off of the back of your vehicle’s seat.
Once you have your car seat in hand, you will need to position it in the back seat based on the size and weight of your child. Make sure you have a firm grasp on the car’s handbrake before proceeding for safety reasons. Once you are comfortable with the position, buckle your seat belt and move on to the next step.
The ideal position for installing a car seat is in the centre, between the front and rear seats. This ensures the child sits in the right place in the vehicle when travelling and prevents the front and rear seats from turning into an obstacle when moving around the vehicle. If space allows, you can slide the front passenger seat forward to create a floor between it and the back seat when installing a child in the back. This prevents any accidents in the event of a collision as it ensures the child’s head will not hit the floor in front of them. When installed in this position, a rear facing child’s car seat should slope at least 10 degrees forward so that the head rests against the headrest when seated. An L-shaped bracket installed at the base of the seat can also improve the comfort of the child by securing the seat closer to the back wall of the car. In most cases, this will free up enough room for an adult to sit behind the child without having to bend over the seat back.
If you have a bigger car with more than two rows of seats, installing a child’s car seat in the third row is also possible. However, you will need to slide the third row forward to make room for it and keep children secure in the back. When in this setting, it is advisable to block the seat with a cushion and bring the safety belt snugly across the waist so that it does not move around during travel as this could cause discomfort to the child. Bringing the seat too close to the back of the car could also obstruct the view of the driver so you will need to find a good balance between having enough room to accommodate your child and the need for better visibility.
The next step is to secure the L-bracket and bar the hinged shield to the lower recliner unit. The L-bracket will be installed on the floor behind the front passenger seat while the hinged shield will be mounted on the inside surface of the back door. After taking the time to find a proper fitting for your vehicle, you will be able to easily grasp the assembly and position it in your car for the best fit. Once you have installed the L-bracket and shield, reattach the seat belt and move on to the next step.
Recliner units are designed for use with children where one or more adults are seated in the front and rear driving positions. They are used when children need to be carried in the car for medical reasons or as a parent’s arms get tired holding them in the car seat during the day. If you decide to use a recliner unit, make sure to purchase one that is approved for use in vehicles and have the correct installation instructions.
When using a reacher unit, it is important to remember the back rest should be adjusted so that it reclines at least 10 degrees from the fully upright position. This will give the child the right angle to rest their head against when sleeping and prevent them from feeling too confined by the seat back.
With the recliner unit in place, you can finally buckle up your child and move on to the next step.
Installing a top lock is similar to attaching a baby carrier to a hip belt. The only difference is you are installing the lock on the steering wheel instead of the handle. While this may sound like a simple step, it can be extremely complicated if you have not done it before or if you are using the wrong equipment. The ideal equipment to install a top lock is a child safety seat with an integrated top lock and waist belt. This combination of items can help keep your child safe during travel as they will be less likely to slip out of their car seat and be injured if they roll around the vehicle.
If you decide to use a top lock, make sure to purchase one that is approved for use in vehicles and have the correct installation instructions. With a top lock in place, your child will enjoy the extra security while traveling and at the same time feel more comfortable being in the front seat.
As with any other step in the installing process, take your time and do it right. Remember these steps and you will have a child that is comfortable in their own car seat and able to enjoy their travels in safety.