Car Seat Installation
Buying a Car Seat Made Easy
Correct fitting of all car seats and boosters is crucial and not all car seats fit all cars, so if you are unsure you can always find a car seat fitting checklist from for the manufacturer. Always read the fitting instructions that will come with your car seat or labelled on the car seat.
We don’t want fitting your car seat to be rocket science...
It's a great idea to practise putting your car seat in the car before you give birth, there is nothing more stressful than going to take your little one home for the first time and not knowing how to put the car seat in the car.Shop Car Seats
3 Point Seat Belt Installation
Your car seat should be fitted as tightly as possible with no excessive forward or sideways movement. Follow all the routing guides on a car seat so that the seat won’t become loose. Rearward facing seats have blue routing guides & forward facing seats have red routing guides.
A label will always be present on a car seat showing you how to route the seat belt step by step or you can find many installation videos on our direct2mum youtube channel.
When the seat belt is in the correct place, pull tightly to make sure you have a safe and secured car seat. The seat belt tensioner will allow you to secure the seat belt at its tightest setting and lock it into position to ensure an extra firm installation.
Seat Belt Check Points
Buckle Condition - Although this should be part of the vehicle MOT, if the buckle or seat belt are damaged, it may not restrain the child seat.
Seat Belt Twist - The seat belt should never be twisted across a child car seat. In the event of an accident, the belt's ability to restrain the child’s seat would be impaired.
Buckle Crunch - is when the 3-point seat belt buckle comes into contact with the car seat plastic in a way that could damage and shatter in an accident. So for peace of mind check that the buckle is on level or lower than the car seat and are not lying against the child-seat frame, so it doesn’t affect the seat's performance in case of an accident.
Forward Anchorage - Always check the seat belt is attached to the car behind the coloured guides. If the seat belt is attached in a forward position this will affect its ability to hold the child seat in place.
Seat Belt Routing - Always make sure the seat belt goes through every coloured guide to anchor the seat safely.Shop Car Seats
For parents who are unsure, Isofix is a fantastic car safety system that uses fixed points within your vehicle’s seats to secure your child’s car seat. Using Isofix is beneficial to parents as it is much quicker, easier and safer than using a 3-point seat belt and you can be sure of a correct fit. Isofix has been standard in most new cars manufactured from 2006 and all cars produced after 2011. It is easy to check compatibility if you are unsure by checking your cars manufacture website or the car manual. You can also find either an isofix logo or label on the seats – it’s as easy as that!
2 IsoFix Connectors
A ridged attachment of child restraint. Two metal bars will stick out to fit on to the anchor points (metal clips) within the base of the vehicle seat. You’ll find the points where the back seat meets the seat cushion. By pushing the seat backwards onto these anchor points, the seat locks directly onto the chassis of your vehicle.
Top Tether - Universal
A top tether is a fabric strap that secures the child seat to a tether point behind the rear vehicle seat, usually at the back of the rear seat, the bottom of the boot or on the ceiling. Check your car's handbook for the exact location in your car. Top tethers should take the shortest route possible to the anchorage point. Any isofix child seat with a top tether should fit any car with a top tether anchor point.
Support Leg - Semi-Universal (must check compatibility)
Many new seats (particularly infant carriers) also come with an in-car base that uses a supporting leg, which is secured on the floor of the car. These additional fixings prevent tilting and rotation. This form of installation is not compatible with all cars so always refer to your vehicle handbook.Shop IsoFix Bases
An isofix base is a black unit that is fitted directly to the isofix mountings in your car and stays there. This allows you to safely install your child’s car seat by simply clicking the seat onto the base and lifting it off with either a lever or a button. Using a base eliminates the chance of fitting the car seat incorrectly and allows for a smooth transition either between cars onto a travel system.
A complete travel system includes a infant car seat and a pushchair, which will make a great choice if you spend a lot of time getting from A to B by car. A travel system combines a buggy with a car seat and is very practical for parents especially when a sleepy baby is involved. Remember babies should spend no longer than 2 hours in an infant carrier at one time.Shop Bases
Car Seats Offer Four Restraint Systems:
You may not realise, but depending on the age of your child will determine the type of restraint that you secure your child with.
Three Point Harness
A 3-point harness has a crotch strap and two shoulder straps which buckle together over the child's pelvis. These are commonly found on infant carriers.
Five Point Harness
A 5-point harness secures your child at the shoulders, hips, and between the legs to secure babies better as they become larger and heavier. A 3-point or 5-point harness is ALWAYS used up to 18kg/40lbs (approx. 4 years). It's tempting to move your child to a seat without a harness for convenience but a 3-point or 5-point harness provides much better fit and protection that an adult seatbelt. A helpful feature when buying a car seat with harness straps is to find one that holds the straps out of the way either with hooks or magnets, this will make it much easier to place you child within the car seat when they’re throwing a tantrum!
Impact Shield/Safety Cushion
An impact shield is available on group 1 car seats. Essentially, instead of a 'harness', an impact shield fits into the seat securely, over the child's legs and presses up against the child's lower torso, the upper part of the torso (and arms) are unrestricted. Impact shields also reduce the occurrence of slipping harnesses which toddlers are notorious at, meaning they have no means of escape!
Adult Car Seat Belt
When your child reaches four years old and is using a group 2/3 highback booster seat, they are ready for an adult seat belt. Using the red routing guides, the seatbelt should be positioned correctly over the child's body.
Disclaimer: Direct2Mum offers brands that specialise in each type of securing method so whichever you decide you can be sure that your little one will be safe. We do not promote a certain type of securing method over another as in general each method meets the regulations for child safety in an impact.Shop Car Seats