How can I tell if my safety seat is installed correct?

Various research throughout different parts of the world has shown that a majority of car seats are installed incorrectly all over the world. The "incorrect installation" refers to any error that was found. These errors could range from wrong use of the 5-point safety harness, wrong guidance of the 3-point car seat belt or even failure to completely fasten the hooks on the ISOFIX anchor points. Whatever the reason was, all research has shown incredible high percentages of wrong use of the car seat in one way or another. The percentages range from 70 all the way up to a complete 100% of car seats checked being used in a wrong manner.

Even though this is an alarming result, there is no reason to panic. Car seats are meant to be installed and used in their own specific way. There’s no room for creativity here. So relax, sit back and go through all the information you can find about your particular seat.

Practice makes perfect. Be sure to install the seat multiple times in your car. Every time you do it you will discover something new and learn how to install it better. The same goes for strapping your child in the seat. Each time you do this you get better at it. Practice, practice, practice.. You’ve already made the great step to purchase the seat, now make sure to follow it up with some great installation and usage as well.

The actual check

After installing the seat in your car, grasp it on both sides and try to rock it side to side and pull it away from the vehicle seat. The safety seat shouldn’t slide out more than about an inch.

Grab the top edge of the seat and push it down to the car floor. The vehicle seat cushion will give in a bit, but the safety seat itself should stay in the same place. If your rearward facing car seat has an anti-rebound bar (such as our Britax Dualfix or the bases of our Baby-Safe infant carrier), the seat won’t give in at all.

Car seat top tether hooked on the backside of the backseat of a carIf you feel that your seat can move up and down too much, look into adding a top tether for extra stability. This way you make a connection from the top of the car seat to the car, helping to pin it down and fasten it even better.  

A little movement in the safety seat is nothing strange, keep your common sense and trust your gut. If it all feels too wobbly or unstable, then it probably is. Ask your car seat supplier for assistance when installing the seat.

Educate yourself well before making your purchase and educate yourself even better after purchase. Thoroughly study the car seat and all of its features so that you know exactly how the seat works. All car seats come with manuals, read those. Almost all car seats also have online instruction videos, be sure to watch those as well. Turn yourself into a car seat expert, it’s time and education well spent.

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