The leading cause of serious injury or death for children is car crashes. Four out of five seats are used incorrectly and this can lead to a potentially life-threatening situation, so it’s important that you use your child’s seat properly!
Children are always developing, and as they grow it is important to keep up with their progress. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats, it is finally time to move them forward-facing with a harness. There are a few things you should know before installing your car seat. Read through the manual carefully and follow all instructions to make sure that it’s installed correctly, including following the manufacturer’s guidelines for age groups.
- There are many different seating positions for kids in car seats. Make sure to use an upright one so your little one can stay safe and secure during any trip.
- Lastly, determine which installation method you will use. You can either fasten your new seats with a seatbelt or latches if they have those features on them.
If you are not sure about the proper use, then it is best to read your vehicle’s manual.
To install a forward-facing seat using your vehicle’s existing safety belts, follow these steps:
- Determine the belt path and tether anchor location.
- You can find the right anchor for your vehicle by checking the owner’s manual. The symbols will help you identify them easily.
- Make sure to attach the tether loosely.
- Make sure that the seatbelt is routed through both forward-facing paths and that your kid won’t twist or buckle it in.
- Next, we need to manually lock the seatbelt by pulling it all of the way out and switching over to a secure locking position. Referring back to your vehicle owner’s manual will provide more information on how this is done for your car seats.
- Once you have pulled enough slack to secure the seat, apply pressure down towards your vehicle’s seating area and make sure it is tight.
- Once you have tied the strap, snug up all of those loose ends with a firm tug.
- To ensure safety, check that your seat does not move more than one inch from side to side or forward at any point along its belt path.
Now that you have successfully installed your car seat, it’s time to start harnessing:
- Consider removing any bulky clothing, such as coats.
- Always make sure that your child is sitting up straight and not slouching.
- Position the harness straps so that they are just above their shoulders. Make sure you review your car seat manual for instructions on how to adjust it properly.
- Once you have buckled the harness straps, place them over your child’s body. Make sure there are no twists or turns.
- Next, tighten your belt and pull any additional slack from the hips up towards the child’s shoulders before tightening.
- The adjuster strap should be pulled to tighten the harness and ensure it’s tight enough so you can’t pinch any webbing at your child’s shoulders. The harness should be comfortable and secure on your child’s body.
- The chest clip should be placed at the armpit level to ensure a comfortable fit for your child.
Children should be in a Ford-facing harness seat until they reach the maximum height or wait for their shoulders to touch an installed higher slot. Once this happens, you can transition them over into booster seats.
The Michigan Medicine youtube channel is a great resource for information on child passenger safety. Be sure to check it out!
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