Safe and Secure: Tips for Installing Your Baby’s Car Seat with Confidence


Between the LATCH and car seat ratings, you’d think installing your baby’s car seat would be a breeze. Not quite.

When installing your child’s car seat with a seatbelt, pull out the seatbelt as far as it goes and wait for it to lock. Then slowly, let the seat belt return into the slot until there is no slack. Use your knee or sit in the seat to tighten as much as possible. Try to move the seat back and forth after you’ve installed it. If you can move the seat more than an inch either way you’ve got too much slack and you need to tighten even more.

Despite leveling indicators and clear labeling, car seats are still often installed improperly because each car seat fits differently in each car, and each person’s definition of tight and secure is different.

The best way to check if your car seat is installed correctly is to ask a certified child passenger safety technician. Call your local police to find out about their car seat check programs. Baby superstores often have safety days with professionals on hand to check seat installation.

To locate a Fitting and Inspection station near you, call 1-888-DASH-2-DOT or 1-800-SEATCHECK. You can also use the inspection station locator online or visit