Car Seat Installation: Some Basics for Parenting Newbies
While we can’t install your car seat for you (we used to, but ran into some insurance issues), making every aspect of your journey as a new parent easier is our number one priority. So, here are a few resources and tips we hope will help!
Before we get started, the most important thing to remember is that CORRECT INSTALLATION IS REALLY IMPORTANT. In order to protect your child the way it’s supposed to, the seat needs to be installed tightly and positioned correctly. You also want to keep your child rear-facing for absolutely as long as possible – it’s literally 500% safer! Here’s some info on why.
Every car and every seat is a little different, making correct installation a complex task, so we don’t recommend going it alone. If you’re in Boston, the Boston Children’s Hospital at 300 Longwood Avenue offers a superb installation service – not only do they install your seat, but they also teach you how to do it, so you’ll feel so much more confident when you need to do it again! Their service is by appointment only and only on Wednesday mornings, but it’s free! Call 617-355-7332 to set up your appointment.
Other services will have Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs) on hand to check your install for free, but they probably won’t be able to give you the education you’ll need to install the seat yourself. Check this page for more Massachusetts-area resources!
The Car Seats For the Littles website is also an amazing resource, and their Facebook group is run by CPSTs, so you can ask them every question you can think of! We also love The Car Seat Lady.
With that said, here are some basic tips:
- Check the belt path with your non-dominant hand, and as long as it doesn’t move more than 1 inch in any direction, it should be tight enough.
- If the seat doesn’t have a level bubble but just a line, the bottom of the window should be level with the ground, so you can use that as a guide. For instance, if you’re installing on the rear passenger side, look at the rear drivers’ side window (with the door closed) to line up the level.
- Don’t forget to pinch test! If you can pinch the strap at the shoulder, it’s too loose.
- Chest clip positioning is super important. The top of the chest clip should be armpit level. Having a chest clip too low is MORE DANGEROUS than not using it at all, because it can damage internal organs.
Got more questions? If we don’t have the answers ourselves, we’re happy to hunt them down for you! We have gear gurus who are eager to help at every Magic Beans store. Or, just call or chat the experts at mbeans.com!
Many thanks to Chelsea Seresin at our Fairfield store and Chelsea Abbott at our Brookline store for the awesome info!
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