Top 5 installation mistakes

When it comes to properly installing your child safety seat, there are a few common mistakes you’ll want to avoid. We’ve highlighted the top 5 installation mistakes to help ensure you take every precaution when installing your child restraint system.

Illustration of child restraint harness slots

1. Wrong harness slot used

For rear-facing seats, use the slots located at or below the child’s shoulders. For forward-facing seats, use the slots located at or above the child’s shoulders.

Illustration of proper harness positioning

2. Improper harness retainer/ chest clip position

The proper positioning is at armpit level. The chest/retainer clip should NOT be positioned over the abdomen.

Illustration of proper child restraint system installation

3. Loose child retraint system (CRS) installation

The car seat should not move more than 1 inch from side to side or front to back when checked at the belt path.

Illustration of properly installed harness strap

4. Loose harness strap

There should be no slack if you pinch the strap at the child’s shoulder.

Illustration of proper seat belt placement with a booster seat

5. Improper seat belt placement with booster seat

The lap belt should lie snugly across the upper thighs and not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest, not the neck or face.

Keep in mind that air bags are a supplemental restraint system and always must be used in conjunction with a seat belt. A rear-facing CRS must never be placed in the front-passenger seat, an inflating supplemental air bag could seriously injure or kill your child. All children 12 and under should ride in the rear seat properly secured in a CRS, booster seat, or seat belt, according to their size. For a comprehensive guide to child safety seat installation and use, consult your child safety seat and owner's manuals.