Fitting and securing your child’s car seat is very important. A lot of parents struggle with how to install a car seat for their babies. Many children have been seriously injured in accidents because the seat was not properly installed.
To properly install a car seat, you must know the type of car seat you have bought and read the manufacturer’s instructions. This article is a detailed guide on how to install two major types of car seats.
How do I install a car seat that has a seat belt?
- Ensure that your seat belt passes through all the correct guides on your baby’s seat. It must pass through the blue guides for rear-facing seats, while for forward-facing seats, it must pass through the red guide. In case you find it difficult for the belt to go round the holes, some seats come with an extra routing
- Put your weight onto the seat while tightening the belt to ensure that the seat is secured. Some seats are made with a lever or button to secure the belt once it has been passed through the seat.
Some seats also come with a lock-off device to prevent the belt from slipping when you have tightened. Always make sure that the belt is in the lock position.
- The child seat must be firmly rested on the car seat. There must be no forward or side movement
- The seat belt buckle must not rest on the child seat frame.
What are Isofix car seats, and how do I know if my car is approved for an Isofix car seat?
According to MybestCarSeat, Isofix car seats are usually not fitted to the car’s seat belts. They are built with arms that can be slotted into special Isofix points designed by the car’s manufacturer. It also comes with an extra top rope to prevent the restraint from tilting or rotating when impacted.
To know if your car has been approved for Isofix car seats, ask the child seat manufacturer or check with your car’s manufacturer. Many Isofix manufacturers have listed on their websites which cars are suited for specific car seats. You can also check for the labels on the car seat.
How do I install an Isofix car seat?
- Make sure that your car is approved for an Isofix car seat. Even though some cars have Isofix points, not every Isofix seat will fit into them.
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions manually carefully.
- Isofix cars are specially designed with Isofix slots hidden at the back of the car’s rear seat. You can find them at the joint between the seat cushion and back of the seat. Some cars have a third Isofix point designed for a top rope. It’s located behind the rear seat and prevents the child’s seat from tilting forward in an accident.
- Check your car’s manual to locate the Isofix points in your car. Also, check the Isofix label on the rear seat.
- Find the Isofix connectors (these are two prongs sticking out from the back) on the base or the child seat.
- Push the Isofix connectors into the points in the car seat. In some seats, you will hear a clicking sound while in others, there’s a light that goes from red to green to show that the seat has been secured.
- Using the third point for the top rope, connect the strap for the top tether to the car’s tether point. Don’t connect it to anything else. Don’t attach it t a luggage hook or a head restraint as they are not strong enough to hold the seat in place.
- If your child seat has a supporting leg, ensure that the leg is well adjusted so that the seat is braced against the floor. Some seats have a light that turns green to indicate that it is properly secured. The leg must not sit above underfloor storage, or else it may collapse when impacted.
What are i-size seats?
I-size child seats can also fit into cars with Isofix points. In the UK, i-size seats have been approved for Isofix cars. However, you must check to see if your car has been approved for i-size seats.
You can check with the seat manufacturer or your car’s manufacturer to know if your car can be used with i-size seats. Some of them have a website that shows the list of cars that have been approved for specific seats.
An i-size seat can be used with any i-size-approved car. But there are only a few i-size cars in the UK. As the years buy, more cars will be approved for i-size seats.
How do I install i-size car seats?
- Like with other car seats, read the manufacturer’s manual thoroughly.
- Any Isofix car can be used with an i-size seat, but you must be sure that your car has been approved for an i-size seat before buying one.
- I-size car seats can be installed the same way you install an Isofix car seat.
What other instructions are there for fitting all types of car seats?
- Always read the manufacturer’s manual before installing the seat.
- If you’re not sure about how to install the seat, seek help from a professional. An expert can also check the fitting of your car seat for you.
- Never alter the car seat or the seat belt to fit with your car.
- Whenever you take out the car seat, always ensure that it is fitted properly when you put it back. If the car seat is permanently installed, always check to see if it’s secure.
Installing a child car seat is not always as difficult as people think. All you have to do is ensure that your car is compatible with the child seat. When you read the manufacturer’s instructions, you can easily install any car seat. Always ensure that the seat is secure before placing your child in it or taking a trip.