Like most things baby-related, car seats are complicated. What, on the surface, looks like a simple piece of equipment, can turn into a sweat-inducing nightmare that requires athleticism, Yen-like patience and the ability to decode hieroglyphic instruction manuals. So we’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to fit a car seat to help you, follow these directions:
How to fit a car seat with car seat belts:
- Pass the car’s seat belt through the correct guides on the child’s seat. Generally, the belt must pass through the blue guides if it is a rear-facing seat and the red guide, if it is a forward-facing seat.
- Push your whole weight into the child seat as you are tightening the seat belt, to make sure the seat is held a securely as possible. Ensure there is no slack in the seat belt.
- Your seat may have a lever or button that can be used to help you tighten the seat belt once it has been placed through the guides.
- Use the lock off device to keep the seat belts in place and prevent them from slipping.
- Try gently moving the car seat, making sure there is very little forwards or sideways movement.
- Ensure that the seat buckle is not resting on the child’s seat frame.
ISOFIX child seats:
- ISOFIX seats will not fit every car, so check that the one you choose is approved for use in your vehicle before you purchase it.
- ISOFIX cars have ISOFIX slots hidden on the back seat, generally in the joint between the back of the seat and the cushion back. Some also have a third attachment to stop the seat tipping forward.
- Before you start installation, find where the ISOFIX points are located in the car, and locate the ISOFIX connectors on the car seat.
- Click the connectors into their matching slots. There may be a visible indicator which changes from red to green to show you that the seat has been securely attached.
- If you have the top ISOFIX point, then fix this. Do not attach this to anything else, such as the headrest, as this is not strong enough.
- If the seat you have purchased has a supporting leg, then make sure this is attached correctly. Ensure the leg is not sitting over any under floor storage, as this is unsafe should impact occur.
How to carry a car seat
Carrying a car seat isn’t easy; the seat itself can be rather heavy and then couple that with a growing baby and it’s just going to get heavier and heavier, so it is important that you know how to carry a car seat correctly and safely. Carrying a car seat can put a lot of strain on your shoulders, back, hips, arms and knees. Lifting and carrying a car seat so soon after giving birth can risk your recovery so it is important to be extra careful whilst you’re recovering, and you shouldn’t attempt it if you have had a caesarean. Whilst newborn car seats are designed to keep a baby safe in the car, they aren’t necessarily designed for carrying your child around comfortably or for long periods of time. Typically, when we carry a car seat, we do it with one hand which can put a lot of pressure and weight on one side of our body for a start and then the way we position our arms can be uncomfortable and unnatural.
As a result of struggling to carry a car seat, a plethora of solutions have been suggested by a number of different people but one which has been popular is the method used by Dr Emily Puente. This hack went viral and has been tested by a large number of parents around the world.
What the chiropractor says…
Dr Emily Puente is a Chiropractor and mother who came up with a handy hack for carrying a car seat which isn’t as strenuous on your joints as standard methods. Start by turning the car seat so your baby is facing you. Then loop your arm through the handle so that the inside of your elbow rests against it. The final step is to then twist your hand so that it is facing away from you and use it to support the underneath of the car seat.
The method has had mixed reactions, but it has been said that this is due to the differences in car seat brands and generally the method is helpful.
Dr Puente says that where possible you should try to use a carrier or wrap as these work to distribute your babies weight properly which helps to keep your back healthy and are generally quite handy to have around as you can multitask whilst wearing them.
There are other methods to carrying a car seat which have been shared across the internet however this tip has helped many parents and prevented many back pains since it first went viral and therefore it is sure worth a go if it means you save yourself some back or neck pain.
Before attempting to carry a car seat you should make sure you are physically capable of doing so to avoid injury and make sure you are adhering to your doctor’s advice on strenuous activity if you have not long given birth. It is important to avoid activities which could be harmful after you have given birth.
With a wide range of car seats available on Kiddies Kingdom, you’ll be able to find a car seat that enables you to safely and securely contain your child whilst also ensuring that you’re able to carry it without harm to yourself.
How to clean a baby car seat
We’ve all been there, 2 hours into a 5-hour car journey and your little one decides now is the perfect time for a nappy explosion! Mid-journey, there is time for a quick wipe-down, but once you are in a suitable place, a thorough car seat clean is needed, and here’s how:
- Choose a time when you won’t be needing the car seat again for a while, to allow washed fabric to dry.
- Detach the car seat and place it on a towel or blanket on the floor.
- To remove the extra debris, such as raisins and rice cake dust, vacuum the entire car seat, making sure you get into all the hidden nooks and crannies, where food loves to linger.
- Most car seats have detachable seat covers, so remove this. Depending on the manufacturers cleaning instructions you can either pop the cover in the washing machine or hand wash in warm water. If you are unable to remove the cover (or time is limited) try tackling the stains with a mild soap and warm water. Leave the cover to dry.
- The plastic section of the car seat can be gently cleaned with soapy water and a sponge.
- The seat buckles can be gently rinsed under running water to remove built up debris, but don’t use soap.
- Once everything is dry, recover the car seat and fix back into the car following the manufacturer’s instructions – hey presto, a squeaky-clean car seat, ready to be covered in yogurt and spit-up all over again!