How to safely buckle baby into her car seat

Even top-rated car seats aren’t safe if they’re not used correctly. Follow these tips to make sure your passenger is buckled in properly.

Right height
Adjust the shoulder straps, so they start at or below baby’s shoulder height. (This is the preferred position for rear-facing car seats.)

Pit stop
Position the chest clip at armpit level. It should be high enough to keep the shoulder straps in place but shouldn’t rest against baby’s chin.

Pinch proof
Pull the shoulder straps snug, so there’s no extra slack to pinch. If you can fit two stacked fingers between a strap and your baby, it’s too loose.

Tuck in
Remove bulky jackets and sweaters, which can compromise a car seat’s effectiveness. If you’re concerned about baby’s warmth, tuck a blanket around her—and over the harness—after she’s strapped in.

Tip: Proper installation is important, too! Most local fire stations offer free car seat inspections to ensure you’re set up safely. Visit to find one near you.

Image: Mayuko Deason

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