Parenting: Installing child car safety seats

October 2, 2012

Our baby, Sabine, just turned five months old, but it seems like yesterday we brought her home from the hospital.

Back in May, we put Sabine in her car seat to drive her home. And I'm so glad that BEFORE she arrived, I got to meet with a federally certified car seat technician.

"First of all, your seat belt is twisted and it can't be twisted," said Y'vette Gayle. "It has to lie perfectly flat and straight. Also, it's a little looser than it should be, so we're going to get it nice and tight."

Y'vette made sure the seat belt strapping in the car seat was locked and the seat itself was secure.

Keep a child rear-facing until the age of two.

"The center is the safest," said Y'vette, "but it's simply because it's furthest from any kind of impact."

But the center position isn't an option in all vehicles, so check your owner manual.

Y'vette also showed me how to properly strap a baby into a seat. The chest clip should be at armpit level, and the harness should be snug.

Also, no after-market, unregulated parts should be in or on the car seat or in your vehicle. That means no mirrors or toys, and no signs or sun shades.

"If those suction cups were to fall off, this could injure someone riding in the vehicle," said Y'vette.

No pads or pillows in the seat either. If your baby needs a better fit, roll up receiving blankets and place them along the outside of the child's body.

And since every car seat and vehicle is different, it's good to make an appointment with a federally certified technician like Y'vette.

"And you can go to, put in your zip code and it will tell you who are the closet qualified people to you," said AAA's Jenny Robinson.

On October 15th, Pennsylvania Hospital Postpartum Nurses are hosting a car seat inspection station. For an appointment, call 215-829-5403.

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