woman choosing child car seat for newborn baby in shop supermarket

How to install a car seat (and where to do it around Boston)

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This post will take two tracks. First we’re going to discuss how to install a car seat properly, and then we’re going to list some places in Boston and Metro West that will do it. Ready? Let’s go.

How to install a car seat properly

I feel like the DMV’s website is a decent place to start. Here’s their post on the topic. If you like bullet point lists, here’s what they say:

  • Place it in the back seat.
  • Ensure the seatbelt straps/tethers are tight. You should not be able to move any strap, harness, or the entire seat itself more than an inch if the car seat is properly locked into place by doing one of the following:
    • Using the latch plate on the seatbelt.
    • Enabling the seatbelt retractor.
    • Installing a locking or belt-shortening clip.
    • If available, using the car seat’s built in lock-off device.
  • Make sure there are no twists in the seat belt straps.
  • Make sure the base of the car seat is at the correct recline angle. Many car seats come with a built-in adjuster or angle indicator.
  • If you have a vehicle manufactured prior to 1997, you may need to use a locking clip, which:
    • Is used to create a fixed length of webbing on a lap/shoulder belt when there is no other way to lock the belt.
    • Must be positioned within 1 inch from the latch plate.
  • If your car seat came with a base, the carrier handle should be out of the way when the car seat is attached. Read your car seat’s instructions.

About.com has produced a YouTube video on this topic if you’re a more visual person. It has close to 600,000 views, so I’d argue it’s fairly vetted.

Parents Central has a number of videos on installing car seats, including by different types of car.

WikiHow’s advice on car seat installs is good too — it’s very visual.

OK, so … if the links above give you an idea of how to do it but you still feel like you might need some help, the next question becomes: where does one do it in the Boston/Metro West areas?

Where to get a car seat installed in Boston

Let’s start here: Mass.gov has a full list of child safety seat inspection sites. Similarly, Boston.gov has instructions for setting up a car seat appointment.

Some additional resources:

If you get stuck and don’t know exactly where to go for an install or inspection even with the above links, feel free to contact me. I’m glad to help and often know different places around MA!

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