Over 20,000 lives a year are saved by properly installed infant safety seats every year. Graco, a major manufacturer of car seats, makes a wide variety of products to keep your child safe in the event of a collision. Installing the seat properly is key to it operating correctly during a collision. A car seat that is improperly installed gives a false sense of security to the driver and greatly increases the risk of injury. Follow the instructions listed by the manufacturer to ensure that your child is as safe as possible in his car seat.
Graco Infant Seats
Place your infant in the car seat. Adjust the shoulder straps until they are at or just above the baby's shoulders. Once adjusted, take your baby out.
Make sure your car is parked on level ground. This will give you the best reading for the level indicator that is on the side of the car seat. It is important that a car seat is level during installation so it will be properly installed.
Place the car seat base in the back of your car and thread the seat belt through the indicated slots. If using a shoulder harness, be sure and pull the strap out completely until it locks. You will re-adjust it later to make sure you have a snug fit. Be sure that you place the whole belt through the ensemble (shoulder and lap).
Lock the "lock off" lever that will secure the seat belt. It is safety orange and will be indicated by Graco's labeling on the seat base. It will snap into place over the belt and secure it. If using a shoulder strap, adjust it now so that the remaining slack is absorbed back into the slot.
Move the seat side to side and back and forth. It should not give more than an inch. If it does, then repeat the last two steps until it does not move. Check the level indicator and make sure you cannot see any orange.
Place the car seat into the base. Place your baby in the seat and adjust the front harness clip to where it is level with your baby's armpits.
Graco Car Seats
Check to see if your car has a LATCH system. If it was manufactured after 2003, it does. Place your carseat in the middle of the back seat as recommended by both Graco and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Take the topmost strap and hook it into the rear LATCH anchor which is located just above the middle of your rear seat. Tighten the strap adjuster as tightly as you can. Take the t-shaped strap on the rear of the seat with the latches at either end and attach each one of these to the LATCH anchors located near the seat belt fasteners. Tighten these as well.
Test your car seat by moving the seat back and forth and forward and back. It should not give more than one inch. If it does, adjust the LATCH system straps so that they are tighter.
Place your child into the car seat buckling the front harness just below the armpits. Lock the bottom part of your harness into the bottom latch and tighten the belt using the adjustment strap located at the bottom of the car seat. You should be able to slide your finger under the strap to allow room for your child's natural movement.