**I am not a carseat specialist, I am not a licensed carseat technician. I am taking what I have accumulated in research and putting it in once place. Please do your own research and have a certified carseat tech check out any questions you may have. I am not judging parents-you cannot do what you do not know. My purpose is to educate enough to encourage more research so you can make the safest choices for your child.**
Rules I know about installation:
- Rear facing seats cannot touch the seat in front of them
- When installed via latch system or seatbelts, seat should not move more than an inch in any direction
- You can no longer use the latch system once seat + child = 40lbs + –You must then use the seatbelt
- Forward facing needs to have the top hook that goes over the seat and hooks to the back latch (some are at the top like in trucks) no matter the weight of a child–if your seat does not have one of these you cannot place a forward facing seat there.
Rules I know about buckling in:
- Rear facing the straps should be at the shoulders or LOWER
- Front facing the straps should be at the shoulders or HIGHER
- Winter/puffy coats should not be used (an accident can squeeze the air out and then the straps are loose)
- NOTHING (including seat covers, strap covers/pads, etc) should be used if it did not come with the seat.
- Straps should be tight and not be able to be pinched
- 5 point harnesses, chest clip should be on the chest–on the breast bone, between the armpits/on the nipples to have the most ribcage under the buckle (this is to protect the organs and throat)
- Rear facing is suggested until the child maxes out weight/height of that seat. Law is not the same as recommendations. 5 point harness is suggested until the child can sit on their own with out slouching and the seatbelt hits in all the correct areas.
In our case:
- We have 2 rear facers.
- Stella is almost 3 but only 22 lbs.
- Newborn baby will be in a rear facing bucket seat with a base.
- The third row only has a hook for front facing seats in the center.
- If a rear facing seat went in the third row with a bucket seat in front if it, it will hit the seat.
- None of my children are able to buckle/unbuckle themselves yet so I need to be able to get in and buckle and check tightness.
The only way we could figure all those factors in was to have:
- Nolan in the third row center, using seatbelt to attach and over the seat strap hooked.
- Nolan also has an autism notification hanging on his seatbelt to allow others to know he may not react as expected in an accident or emergency. It also indicates he is non-verbal.
- Stella rear facing behind the driver seat using the latch system.
- Baby rear facing behind the passenger seat with the passenger seat moved up and the baby’s seat back as far as it can.
When getting in the car, we will all enter back passenger door. Nolan will crawl back to his seat, Stella will climb up into her seat. Baby will be placed on the front passenger seat if it is very cold. I will climb in and buckle Nolan, buckle Stella, and then get out, grab baby and snap baby into base.
To get out, I will unbuckle Stella and close her door. I will walk around the car and baby will be unsnapped from base, put in the front seat. I will undo Nolan’s buckle and back out to allow Nolan and Stella to get out of the door and then I will grab baby in the infant bucket.
No, it won’t be easy. Yes, it will be a pain. Yes, it will take time and organization. Did we have all these regulations when we were this little? No. But people are here to research these things and report what they find for safety purposes, not to make our lives miserable. I do want my kids to be safe and I will do my best to follow what the research says.
Before install the carseat base and bucket seat, I first check expiration date. Then I wash the seat according to guidelines. My cover is machine washable. Straps are not supposed to be washed with anything besides water because solvents take the fire proof chemical off. I get in all the crevices of the plastic with a washcloth, thieves, and even a toothpick if necessary. I reinstall the infant padding I removed as the kids grow (I keep in a bin in the basement labeled original padding).
I then make sure the car is clean. I remove all the other carseats and wash them according to their guidelines, too. I then take the car to be detailed (let me tell you the car looks huge with all your “leave in the car for if we need it” stuff removed and the carseats out.) The place I go does a general wipe down, vacuum, and windows. There were a couple spit up stains on Stella’s seat (yup, its been that long) so I used thieves and a Norwex cloth to scrub it clean. I then reinstalled all the carseats and it smells so fresh and clean.