Properly installing and using a car seat can be challenging.
Before you begin, always consult the car seat manufacturer's instructions and the owner's manual for your vehicle. Not all car seats and vehicles follow the same installation instructions.
If you’d like our experts to make sure your car seat is installed correctly, just call or email for an appointment. Our Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will inspect your car seat to help keep your child safe. (Please note: appointments book approximately four weeks in advance.)
Child Passenger Safety Tips>
Used Car Seats
It may be tempting to purchase a used car seat from a garage sale or second-hand store; however, it’s not recommended. It’s nearly impossible to learn if the seat has been involved in a crash, so you can’t know the seat will protect your child should you have an accident. If you choose to purchase a used car seat, it may be safe to use if it:
- Has never been in a moderate to severe crash
- Has labels that are present with date of manufacture and model number
- Has no recalls - search for recalls here
- Is not expired (expiration date may be found on model number sticker or stamped in the plastic of the back of the seat. If no expiration date is found, do not use the seat beyond six years from the manufacture date)
- Has all of its parts including the instruction manual
When your child has outgrown the maximum height and weight of their forward-facing child restraint harness, it may be time for a booster seat. Some car seats transition from a harness to a booster seat. Refer to your car seat manual for instructions. If it doesn’t convert, you’ll need to choose a booster to best fit your child. There are two types – backless, or high back with a seatbelt guide. Both types allow the seatbelt to fit appropriately and keep your child safe in a crash. (Never place your child in a booster seat using only a lap belt.)
When you choose a booster seat, consider:
- Does the vehicle seat have a head rest? If not, a high back booster is required.
- Can your child sit upright in the seat and allow the seatbelt to stay in place without putting it behind his back? If not, a high back booster will be necessary.
- Consider your child’s size when shopping for the booster seat. Can she sit comfortably in the booster if it has arms on it?
Children don’t properly fit in an adult seatbelt until they are 4’9” tall. Your child could be severely injured or killed in a motor vehicle collision if the seatbelt isn’t worn properly. The lap belt should fit low on the hips and should not be across the abdomen. The shoulder belt should cross the middle of the chest and shoulder and should not cross the neck.
To help you determine if your child can sit in a seat belt only, you must answer “yes” to each of these questions:
- Is he 4’9” tall?
- Is she able to sit straight against the vehicle seat back for the entire ride?
- Is he able to bend his legs naturally at the edge of the seat?
- Does the lap belt fit low on her hips?
- Does the shoulder belt stay on the center of his shoulder for the entire ride?
- If you’re still unsure about transitioning your child to a seat belt only, or to check the installation of your child restraint, contact us or your local fitting station.