Infant Car Seat Safety: What You Need To Know

Frequently asked questions about keeping your baby safe on board -- answered.
Question: Any tips for installing a car seat?
  • Count on spending at least an hour reviewing the directions and installing the seat.
  • Don't wait until the day you plan to take the baby home from the hospital to install the seat. You don't need that kind of pressure hanging over you. Ideally, you'll install the seat several weeks before your baby's due date in case of an early arrival.
  • If you're having trouble with the installation, call the toll-free number that most manufacturers include with their seats. The consumer reps are often very knowledgeable and happy to answer all of your questions.
  • Once you've installed the seat, have it inspected at a local cars seat safety checkpoint. Your fire department should have information on where you can go; very often they conduct the checkpoints themselves. You can also find checkpoints in your area by logging on to The Safekids Website. Go to the right-hand side of the home page where it says, "Find coalitions and events near you." They list events by state and area.
  • When using an infant car seat, be sure the carrier handle is placed in the downward position while driving. Leaving it up could seriously injure your baby should the car be in an accident. If you like to use the handle to dangle toys, buy a toy that attaches to the car window with a suction device instead.
  • Make a point to regularly check the car's seat to make sure the safety belt is still holding the carrier securely in place and that the level indicator says the seat is at a safe angle.
  • For more information about child safety seats check out the American Academy of Pediatrics' newly updated guide on car seats.

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