Graco Snugride Infant Car Seat Base Installation

By Vanessa Tang

Nothing is more important than the safety of your most precious cargo, your baby. Finding the right car seat is your most important purchase, but knowing how to install it properly can make all the difference. Car seat bases are excellent for easily transferring the entire car seat without waking a sleeping baby. Graco has made it even easier by providing two ways to install: using the vehicle seat belt for older models and employing the LATCH technology for newer cars. Any hospital, fire or police station can inspect your installation.

Installing the Snug Ride Base Using the Vehicle Belt

Place the base of the car seat in a rear-facing position in one of the back seats. Never place a car seat in the front passenger seat nor in the rear middle seat where a frontal seat cannot guard the car seat in the event of an accident.

Weave the vehicle's seat belt through the slats of the base and snap the buckle. Make sure the belt does not become twisted,

Tighten the seat belt so that it does not move more than the width of two fingers--place all of your weight onto the car seat base as you do so, Check your owner's manual for specific tightening tips.

Place the infant restraint into the base until you hear a "click." If you do not hear a click, chances are the restraint was not latched. If you still do not hear a click, pull up on the base to make sure it is latched securely. If after both attempts, the car seat is still not latched, do not use the seat, as it will provide no protection for your child. Check with a professional health official and/or call the manufacturer for a replacement.

Check the level indicator on the side of the infant restraint. Begin by making sure that the infant restraint is on level ground and that neither restraint nor base is tilted in any way, then check the level indicator. A reading of all blue indicates that the infant restraint is leveled properly. If any orange remains in the window, this means the infant restraint is either too upright or too reclined.

Adjust the recline adjustment foot located on the bottom of the base if the level still shows orange. To recline the base, lower the foot by pulling it down to the desired setting. To push the infant restraint to a more upright position, raise the foot by setting the base on a flat surface and then pushing in with your thumbs on the fingers illustration of the base and push down on the base. If orange still remains in the level indicator of the infant restraint after being placed on the base and the foot has been completely extended, place a rolled towel under the foot only until all blue appears in the indicator. Re-tighten the belt through the base and set the infant restraint on the base again to check the level indicator. The indicator should now read only blue. If any orange still remains, adjust the recline again.

Installation Using the LATCH Method

Locate your vehicle's anchor points. Many models have them built into the lower seat, while others have them located on the rear ceiling or behind the rear seat's headrests.

Place the base of the car seat in a rear-facing position to the front of the vehicle in one of the back seats and extend the LATCH on the car seat base to its maximum length.

Thread the seat belt of the vehicle, ensuring that the LATCH is under the tongue of the base. Check to make sure the belt was not twisted in the process.

Secure the connectors of the car seat base--these resemble mini-seat belts hanging from the base--to the vehicle's lower anchors. If your vehicle does not have a lower anchor, try extending the anchors so that they reach the anchors above the rear seat headrests.

Place all of your weight onto the car seat base and tighten the LATCH by pushing the base down with force while pulling the adjustment belt so that it does not move more than the width of two fingers. Check that the LATCH does not slip from its tightened state. If it does, try positioning the car seat in a different angle. If more help is needed, contact customer service or your local health professional.

Tip

Every time you drive with your child, push down firmly on the car seat while installed on the base to ensure the vehicle belt has not loosened.

Always check that the level indicator reads blue.

Pull the passenger seat back as far as it will go to eliminate any further movement of the car seat.

Warning

Never hook two LATCH connectors onto one vehicle LATCH anchor unless specifically recommended in your vehicle's owners manual.

About the Author

Vanessa Tang has been a freelance writer since 2001. Her expertise ranges from increasing your financial IQ and beating the recession to teaching English and parenting. Tang's work has appeared in various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Baldwin-Wallace College.