What Is The Correct Way To Put A Baby In A Car Seat?

It cannot be easy to know the correct way to put a baby in a car seat. The risk of injury is noteworthy if you don’t do it correctly, so how do you make sure that your baby is safe and secure? Well, fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there on this topic. This guide will take you through everything from installing the seat base to securing your baby safely inside it.

What Is The Correct Way To Put A Baby In A Car Seat?

The safest position for your baby in a car seat is rearward facing until they are two years old. It’s recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). For a good reason: rear-facing is the best way to protect children from injury during a crash.

According to the AAP, children under one year old should always ride in a rear-facing car seat because their heads are heavier than their necks, and it’s more difficult for them to hold up their heads. So if you have an infant younger than one-year-old, keep them in that rear-facing position.

It is essential to secure your baby properly in a car seat. The straps should be tight enough that you cannot pinch extra material between your fingers but not so tight that they cause discomfort or pain. Infants should always ride rear-facing until at least age 2 when they can safely face forward with an appropriate car seat model.

How to Install and Use a Baby Car Seat

Now that you know that a rear-facing car seat is the best for your baby, here is how to install one in your car safely:

Install a rear-facing car seat base in the backseat of your vehicle

You need to install the car seat in the back seat of your vehicle. However, make sure that the car seat is positioned so your newborn will be facing toward the rear of your car, and place the base in the back seat, never in the front. You can also install a LATCH system if you have one for use with forward-facing child safety seats, which require this installation.

Position the seat so that it’s semi-reclined

The car seat should be reclined enough, so the baby’s head does not flop. Adjust the seat until it is at the correct angle by pushing down on one of its sides and rotating it forward or backward until you hear a click.

If your car seat has an audible indicator when it’s in place, use this to confirm that you’ve locked it properly; it should make a clicking sound when appropriately locked into position.

Ensure the seat keeps your baby at an angle that provides plenty of room for his legs to move freely beneath him if necessary. Most babies will need to use this base type since they have yet to develop the ability to sit up unsupported.

Some seats also have color indicators that appear green or blue when correctly installed and red or yellow if improperly installed. Consult your manufacturer’s manual for details on correctly interpreting these indicators.

Gently place your baby into the car seat

With your newborn lying on their back, place them in the car seat with their head facing the rear. Holding your newborn with one hand under her bottom and another supporting her head and neck, gently place her into the car seat, so she is centered between straps. You should lift slightly on one or both sides of her body so that she settles into place properly.

To secure your baby in place with their harness, use the top slots designed to hold a child securely in place. You’ll also want to ensure that your infant’s harness is adjusted snugly over their chest and hips.

Use the straps correctly 

Ensure that once you have positioned your baby in their car seat, the crotch strap is just below their hipbones and covers them entirely across their pelvis with no gaps around their thighs or waist area. The buckle should be facing down toward their knees.

The straps should be snug against your child’s shoulders without being too tight; if they are too loose, they may slip out of place while driving, which could cause injury during an accident.

  • Fasten the buckles across your newborn’s chest and between their legs.
  • The straps should be tight enough, as it may affect their comfort level or make them uncomfortable in the car seat. You may need to adjust the straps as your baby grows.
  • Slide the chest buckle up, so it goes across the center of your newborn’s chest, not over their belly or neck. Then, click the ends together to secure the buckle.
  • Make sure the straps are not twisted, and the clips are facing forward before connecting them.

Support your baby’s head with a tightly rolled blanket

Babies cannot control how their heads move around. To help them out, you’ll need to use a tightly rolled blanket to support your baby’s head. This should be positioned under the straps and tucked around the car seat as close as possible. If you don’t have a headrest in your car seat, this will help keep little heads from flopping during travel.

Keep baby warm 

You are ready to put your baby in the car seat. The safest way to do this is with an infant insert which adds extra padding between your child and the weather. If you don’t have one, place a blanket over them instead. This will help keep them warm, too.

Consider placing a coat on your baby before putting them into their car seat once they’re strapped in. Drape a blanket over your baby’s body from the shoulders down. Tuck the blanket along the sides of your baby’s body to secure it.

Always lift your car seat with a baby in it by the handle

There is only one way to carry a car seat with a baby in it: by lifting it by the handle. Never should you raise a child’s car seat with its straps. This is because there is no way of knowing how much weight the straps can bear. But if you decide to lift your child’s car seat using the handle instead of its straps, make sure that you keep both hands on either side of the handle until you place it in position on your vehicle’s backseat or other location.


Putting a baby in a car seat is one of the most important things moms and dads do. It can be scary, but it’s also essential to correctly strap your little one into the safety of their car seat. You should remember some things when putting a baby in a car seat, so make sure you follow the guide.


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