It’s a New Year – Time to Assess your Child’s Car Seat

It’s a new year and a great time to assess your child’s car seat. Accidents can happen and it’s important that your child is secure.  Taking a few minutes to ask and answer these 2 questions will help ensure that your child will be safe in their seat.

1) Is the car seat properly installed and working well?

  • Make sure the car seat is secured tightly in the vehicle.  It should not move more than 1 inch when tugging the seat back and forth and side to side.
  • Check all car seat straps, they should lie flat and snug.  Twisted straps need to be untwisted.
  • The chest harness should click together and lie at the child’s armpit level.
  • If your car seat uses a seat belt to secure the car seat, make sure the seat belt is locked and does not give.
  • Rear-facing car seat need to be securely positioned at the correct recline angle.  Many car seats have a level built into the seat to indicate the correct recline angle.
  • Forward-facing car seats often have a tether anchor strap.  This anchor strap needs to be tight to ensure minimal head movement if a car crash occurs.

Always refer to your car seat manufacture’s installation instructions if your child’s seat needs to be adjusted or reinstalled for proper safety.  If you need help with installation or want someone to double-check your installation you can contact your local fire department or police department, often times they are happy to help.

2) Does your child need to transition into another type of car seat?

As your child grows and increases in age and weight, they will need to transition into a different type of seat.

image derived from Parents Central, car seats, keeping kids safe


  • Infants under the age of 1 always need to be in a rear-facing car seat.
  • Children under the age of 12 should ride in the back seat, it’s safer for them.
  • Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size.  Also consider how well it will fit into your vehicle.
  • For maximum safety, keep your child in their seat for as long as possible until they reach the height and weight limits set by the car seat manufacture.
  • A booster seat needs to be used by children at least to the age of 8.
  • A child can use a seatbelt by itself when the child is large enough for the seat belt to fit properly.  A properly fit seat belt will lie flat against the upper thighs and fit across the chest.  It should not hit the stomach, face or neck.

Start your new year off right and take a few minutes and make sure your kids are properly secured in your car. Happy New Year 2017 from David O Defense!

The information and chart on this blog was derived from Parents Central at