You Child’s car seat has the ability to be installed with LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) or your vehicle’s seatbelt. Both LATCH and seatbelt are equally safe, but often a car seat must be installed using a seat belt because: 1) The vehicle was manufactured before LATCH was standard in the vehicle or 2) the vehicle only has LATCH available on the two side seats and not in the center back position*.
Using a seat belt is very safe but can sometimes seem complicated to use in an install because it must be locked first. Often times, customers come in to our shop that were 110% sure that their car seat was installed properly only to have driven a day or two later to find that their work has come loose. This usually happens for one of two reasons: 1) The buckle was undone by someone** Or 2) The belt was not locked before being used for the installation.
Here is a quick How-To video as well as Step-By-Step showing you how to lock your belt to properly install your child’s infant car seat using this method.
Step One: Grab the buckle with one hand, and with the other hand, pull the belt out AS FAR as it will go. Be sure to pull slowly or else the lock might lock pre-maturely.
Step Two: Feed a couple of inches of the belt back into the body of the car to make sure that the belt is locked. You can do this by letting go of the belt just a little, enough to feed an inch or two back into the body of the car. Be sure you hear the ratcheting sound “Click..click…click” to be assured that the belt is properly locked (ALR – Automatic locking Mechanism, is engaged).
Step Three: Feed the belt through the belt path of your car seat. Infant seats will have a clear belt-bath on the base.***
Step Four: Fasten the buckle.
Step Five: Pull up on the shoulder portion of the belt, away from the buckle, while simultaneously pressing down, toward the belt bath to tighten.
Step Six: If the car seat has a lock off/auto-lock, engage it. Some seats, like this Maxi Cosi Mico Max Plus (shown here) have the lock off/auto-lock on the sides, whereas others have the seatbelt lock off/auto-lock in the center. For the Mico Max Plus, only one side is advised to be engaged, the side opposite the buckle.
Step Seven: Test Tightness by attempting to slide the base at the belt path. Base should not move more than 1 inch.
These steps do not include adjusting the base to the proper angle, using a load leg (if one is present) or other safety precautions. Always read your manuals (car seat manufacturers and vehicles) and test to make sure that the car seat is installed tightly and safely every few days.
If you have any questions or would like to book a full installation with a certified car seat safety technician, contact us at Orders@strollerspa.com. During Shelter in Place, we are offering virtual installations with an in-person safety check once SIL is cleared.
*When installing a car seat in the back center seat, never click car seat LATCH connectors into LATCH bars intended for side seats. This can impede the safety of the two back side passengers and compromise the safety of the car seat – there should not be more than 11 inches between LATCH bars.
**When taking your car to be professionally cleaned, make sure to tell attendants not to touch the car seats. Many families have gone in to have their vehicles cleaned/serviced, only to find, days later, that their car seats were detached. We recommend adding a sticker to the buckle that reads “DO NOT TOUCH!”.
***Convertible seats will have highlighted belt-paths that differ for forward facing or rear facing seats. Make sure you use the correct belt-path for convertible car seats.
Have additional questions about ANYTHING car seat related? Please feel free to reach out to us day or night at Orders@strollerspa.com