You might think that anyone who can read an instruction manual and follow directions could install a car seat correctly. In reality, though, it's not so easy. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3 out of 4 car seats are improperly installed.
Pay attention to the placement and orientation of the car seat. Car seats for young babies should be installed in the rear-facing position in the center of the rear seat. Keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible – Effective Jan. 1, 2019, Illinois law will require children under age 2 to be properly secured in a rear-facing child restraint system unless they weigh more than 40 pounds or are more than 40 inches tall. Children must remain rear-facing until age 2. Once your toddler outgrows the rear-facing capabilities of a car seat, the seat can face forward. The middle of the backseat is still the safest place for your toddler to sit. Booster seats – used for children weighing 40 to 100 pounds (ages 4-12 and up to 4 feet 9 inches tall) – are intended for use with a shoulder and lap belt, ideally in the backseat.
Click here for tips on installing your seat successfully.