Car Seat Considerations
How your type of vehicle can affect your car seat installation
Other Factors to Consider
- Two-door vehicles: It can be difficult to install child safety seats correctly in those types of vehicles, because you must get into the back seat yourself. It can also be difficult to get your child in and out of the safety seat.
- Small back seats: The back seats of small cars and many pickup trucks are too small to properly accommodate some safety seats, especially those in the rear-facing, reclined position. In addition, some rear center safety belts in small cars are too close together to fit safety seats with wide bases. Wide bases may block access to buckles for outboard lap and shoulder belts. In this case, try a safety seat with a narrow base.
- Deep bucket seats: Many safety seats will not fit in vehicle seats with deep buckets. Try a safety seat with a narrow base or top tether strap.
- Tether anchorage: This is a metal plate bolted into the vehicle to attach a top-tether strap that comes with some child safety seats. Tethers may improve protection by attaching the top of the safety seat more securely to the vehicle. Virtually all passenger cars made since January 1989 have pre-drilled holes that can be used for top-tether anchorage.
- Slope and angle of back seat: Rear-facing infant and convertible seats should be reclined at a 45-degree angle. The slope of the seat may cause the safety seat to tilt too far forward, putting the infant in an upright rather than reclined position. To remedy this situation, try placing a tightly rolled towel under the base of the safety seat. Always check the safety seat instructions and owner’s manual for correct installation.
- Contour of back seat: While the rear center seat may seem the safest place to put a child, many back seats have a hump in the center, making it difficult to install a child safety seat correctly. The safest position is where the safety seat fits securely.
- Split bench seats: Splits in wide bench seats can make it difficult to install a safety seat correctly.
- Forward-anchored belts: If the safety belt extends from the seat in front of where the back and seat cushions meet, the safety seat may be too loose. Move it to a different seating position, or try a different style safety seat, perhaps one that can accommodate a top-tether strap.
- Pickup truck jumpseats/extended cabs: Child safety seats will not fit properly in many pickup truck rear seats. There is not enough space between the rear of the front seat and the child to allow forward motion in the event of a crash or even a sudden stop. Side-facing jumpseats used as a safety seat are not safe for a child under any circumstances.
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN