Raising a child comes with many challenges. Getting the hang of folding a pram while a toddler is crying or installing a car seat in the pouring rain is not for the faint-hearted.

This article is a modest attempt at improving parents’ lives (also grandparents’ and nannies’) by explaining the ins and outs of child car seats. Hopefully, it will also make car trips safer for the young ones.

Infant buckled safely in car seat


  • The car seat’s instruction manual and your vehicle’s owner manual explain how your vehicle’s specific seat belt system ‘locks’. Read the instructions with care. 
  • Place the car seat base on the back seat of the vehicle.
  • Insert the seat belt through the rear-facing belt path ensuring are no twists in the belt.
  • Buckle and then lock the belt.
  • Pressing down on the car seat base, tighten the belt to prevent the seat’s side-to-side or front-to-back movement.
  • Make sure to install the car seat base at the correct reclining angle (babies must sit at a semi-reclined angle to keep the airway open).
    • Most infant car seats have angle indicators for adjusting according to the child’s age (refer to the seat’s manual).
    • Next, connect the infant carrier to the base.


Mother safely clipping her child into a car seat


  • The child’s back must be flat against the car seat.
  • Place the harness straps flat over the child’s shoulders, not twisted, and then through the seat slots located at the height of the child’s shoulders.
  • Buckle and then tighten the harness and the chest clip snuggly.
    • Always buckle the baby in the seat first, placing jackets or blankets over the harness to maintain a snug fit during the drive.
    • If applicable, fill the spaces around your child’s head and shoulders with small, rolled blankets for support.
    • Should there be a gap between the buckle and your child’s groin, place a diaper in the space to ensure a secure fit.
    • Never put padding under or behind the baby unless it is a car seat manual instruction.
  • The chest clip must be at armpit level, holding the harness straps in place.


With your child growing, you must change to a convertible or all-in-one seat (use it in the rear-facing position for better head, neck, and back protection).

Driving with young kids can be pretty taxing, and even the best-intended fun trip very frequently ends up in all-out chaos. A child’s car seat can add to the stress (in the child and adult), but the seat is mandatory. When installed and used correctly, the seat will function as it should, protecting the child.

Young girl safely secured in car seat
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