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How to Install a Graco Infant Car Seat Without the Base

By Jennifer Erchul ; Updated April 18, 2017
Secure an infant car seat with a locking seat belt.

Graco infant car seats come with a base used for easy car installation, but sometimes an infant car seat is used without the base. This is considered safe and legal, but must be done according to Graco’s installation instructions to keep your baby as safe as possible. If a car seat is not installed correctly, the results could be deadly. All caregivers who transport your infant should be trained on correct car seat installation techniques. An infant should ride in a rear-facing infant car seat until she is at least one year old and weighs no less than 20 lbs.

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Set the infant car seat in the back seat. Position it so it is rear-facing.

Thread the lap belt seatbelt through the designated car seat slots and buckle it. The seat belt rests above your baby’s legs. It should not be twisted or slack.

Tighten the seat belt. Kneel or push down on the car seat as you tighten the belt. The car seat should be snug against the back seat.

Look at the car seat level guide. If there is orange showing in the level guide, roll up a small towel or blanket and place it under the car seat where the vehicle’s seat back meets the seat. Adjust the car seat and seat belt until the seat is securely installed and there is no orange in the level indicator.

Push down on the top of the car seat and make sure it does not tip or loosen the seat belt.

Wiggle the car seat side to side. There should little to no movement. If the car seat moves easily, tighten the seat belt.

Things You Will Need

  • Graco infant car seat
  • Seat belt
  • Towel or blanket


Don't put a rear facing infant car seat in a front seat if there is an airbag that cannot be disabled.

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About the Author

Jennifer Erchul has been a freelance writer since 2002. Writing primarily about family and travel, her work has appeared in the "Idaho State Journal," "Portnuef Valley Parents Magazine" and "Western Flyfisher." She writes for numerous websites and is a published author. Erchul studied English and psychology at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn.

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