Car seat safety resource guide: How to install a car seat and have it inspected for free near you

Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13

Baby in car seat. (Target)

Car seats and booster seats help protect infants and children in a crash.

Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13, which is why it’s so important that people choose and use the right car seat correctly every time their child is in the car.

How to choose a car seat

There are four types of car seats. Those include the rear-facing car seat, forward-facing car seat, booster seat, and seat belt. This website from the NHTSA helps you choose a car seat by typing in your child’s birth date, height and weight.

Rear-facing car seat:

  • Infant Car Seat (Rear-Facing only): Designed for newborns and small babies, the infant-only car seat is a small, portable seat that can only be used rear-facing. Most babies outgrow their infant seats before their first birthday. When that happens, we recommend that parents purchase a convertible or all-in-one car seat and use it rear-facing.
  • Convertible Seat: As a child grows, this seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether. Because it can be used with children of various sizes, it allows for children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.
  • All-in-One Seat: This seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat (with a harness and tether) and to a booster seat as a child grows. Because it can be used with children of various sizes, it allows for children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.

Forward-facing car seat:

  • Convertible Seat: As a child grows, this seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether.
  • Combination Seat: As a child grows, this seat transitions from a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether into a booster.
  • All-in-One Seat: This seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat (with a harness and tether) and to a booster seat as a child grows.

Booster seat:

  • Booster Seat With High Back: This type of booster seat is designed to boost the child’s height so the seat belt fits properly. It also provides neck and head support and is ideal for vehicles that don’t have head rests or high seat backs.
  • Backless Booster Seat: A backless booster seat is designed to boost the child’s height so the seat belt fits properly. It does not provide head and neck support. It is ideal for vehicles that have head rests.
  • Combination Seat: As a child grows, this seat transitions from a forward-facing seat with a harness into a booster.
  • All-in-One Seat: This seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat (with a harness and tether) and to a booster seat as a child grows.

Seat belt:

  • Should lie across the upper thighs and be snug across the shoulder and chest to restrain your child safely in a crash. It should not rest on the stomach area or across the neck or face.

Click here to get help choosing a car seat.

How to install a car seat

An improperly installed car seat can put a child’s life in danger.

How to install rear-facing car seats:

How to install forward-facing car seats:

How to install booster seats:

How to get your car seat inspected

This website helps you find someone to inspect your car seat for you. A certified technician will inspect your car seat for free, in most cases, and show you how to correctly install and use it. Some locations also offer virtual inspections.

  • Click here to find a car seat inspector near you through the NHTSA website.
  • Click here to find a tech through the National Child Passenger Safety Certification website.
  • Click here for a free car seat safety inspection in Pontiac.
  • Click here for a free car seat safety inspection in Clarkston.

Children’s Hospital of Michigan injury prevention online workshop

The Children’s Hospital of Michigan offers an injury prevention workshop online that offers safety information to keep children safe.

How does the program work?

  • Learn Online – Caregivers will receive an email, with registration requirements and the online earning website link(s)– video(s) are required to watch. Accurate child information, NO car seat will be provided without ALL child(ren) information.
  • Make Appointment - Caregivers will select their appointment time (on a pre-determined date) to come and pick-up all safety materials and/or equipment through a contactless, pick-up event.
  • Caregivers will receive a confirmation email, with address and a detailed map of Pick-Up location in the Mid-town Detroit area.
  • Show up - Arrive at your scheduled pick-up day & time, STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE, staff will greet and load all safety materials and equipment. - It’s that easy

Click here to fill out the form for more information about the workshop.

Beaumont offers car seat safety information

Beaumont’s Parenting Program offers new parents In-Room Car Seat Safety Education at both the Troy and Royal Oak hospitals. A certified car seat technician is available Monday through Friday to help answer questions and show new parents how to properly use and install their car seat.

Click here to read eight questions answered by a certified child passenger safety technician.

  • Click here to register for Beaumont’s safety classes.