How to Install Your Car Seat

This easy-to-use guide has the latest FAQs and tips on car-seat installation.  Be sure to follow all the great links, and check out the installation videos for visual guidance!

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Before attempting to install any car seat, read both the car seat instructions and the child restraint section in the vehicle instructions. These guides will tell you basic information that you need to know in order to properly install a car seat. If you can’t find the instructions for your new car seat, try looking on the back of the seat, the bottom or under the cover for the booklet. You can order a new instruction manual for free from the car seat manufacturer and many manufacturers now have manuals online in .pdf format. If you can’t find your vehicle instruction manual, order a new one from the dealer parts department or from eBay. There will be a charge for your vehicle manual.


• Read your vehicle manual’s section on child restraints.

• Check the label on your vehicle’s seat belt to learn how to lock it.

• For a rear-facing seat, recline it first, before trying to install it.

Thread the vehicle’s seat belt through the correct belt path on the car seat and buckle it. Then lock the seat belt in place.

• Light bouncing or rocking from side to side on the car seat will help you achieve a tighter fit.

• If your vehicle seat reclines, recline it and install the car seat as tightly as possible. Then put the vehicle seat back upright for a tight installation.

• Non-slip shelf liner may help keep the car seat from sliding on leather seats. Install the car seat first to be sure that you are getting a good fit, then reinstall with the shelf liner.

• Get the seat belt as tight as you can, then unbuckle it. Holding onto the seat belt tightly, let it retract 1/2” to 1” and rebuckle.

• Use the car seat for leverage. Lay across the seat and rotate your weight toward the buckle as you insert the latchplate into the buckle.

• If the latchplate (male end) is at an odd angle as it goes into the car seat belt path, it is acceptable to twist the seat belt buckle (female end) up to 3 complete turns. With each twist, however, you are losing strength and integrity in the seat belt, so it is recommended to twist just until you can get the latchplate to lie flat.

• If your lap-only belt won’t stay tight, you can flip the latchplate upside down and then buckle it.

• Grasp the seat belt as close to the latchplate as you can to pull it tight.

• Put one hand on the edge of the car seat closest to the buckle. With the other hand, grasp the seat belt as close to the latchplate as you comfortably can and pull tight.

(**Editors Note** To view great installation videos, click HERE.)