Installing Your Baby's Car Seat

car seat installation

Photo by peajewel

* Please note, while the video that was originally up with this post came from a reputable source, there were some concerns over safety specifics, so I've taken it down and included links to other installation videos.*

Purchasing and installing a car seat before you've actually got a baby on board is on your to-do list, but the task can feel way overwhelming. For some great visual how-to's, check out videos from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

And read on for more on how to get the installation right.


You should connect with knowledgeable moms around here in Car Seat Safety -- it's a private group, so you'll need to apply to join, but you can swap tips and get an idea of which car seat will be right for your child based on other moms' experiences.

For the very safest installation, you should find a certified CPS (Child Passenger Safety) technician -- here's how to locate an inspection station near you. You can go in and make sure that you've installed the seat correctly with hands-on help.

And to read through some very helpful guidelines and child car seat FAQs, see the AAP's Car Seat Safety: A Guide for Families 2008. I've pulled out a few details here:

  • Your new baby will need a rear-facing car seat. There are two kinds -- infant-only seats and convertible seats (meaning they can be converted to forward-facing seats when your child is older.)
  • Tight is good -- make sure that the car seat is installed tightly in the vehicle and that the harness fits the child snugly.
  • If your car was made after 2002, it probably comes equipped with a LATCH system, which means that's what you'll be using to install the car seat. The AAP Guide has a section explaining LATCH and how it works.

So when it comes to baby prep, what feels most overwhelming to you? All of the safety-related items, like car seats and baby proofing? Or just the basics, like getting the nursery all set up?

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