There are basically two things that YouTube suggests I watch these days: videos of people playing Minecraft and videos of people talking about car seats. Sadly, I’m sure you can guess which of these types of people is rolling in the dough from millions of views and which of them is sharing vital information that so many of us (myself included) don’t even think to look for.
Here are some of the YouTube videos I share most often and see other techs sharing to help parents install and use their car seats correctly. Remember that these videos do not replace your car seat and vehicle manuals, and when in doubt, contact a Certified Car Seat Technician (CPST) or your seat manufacturer.
Please make sure you are watching YouTube car seat tutorials by experts in the field. In my quest to find the best, I have also stumbled upon some pretty terrible examples of misuse. Look for videos done by CPSTs or by the manufacturer of your seat.
My Favourite Car Seat Tricks & Tips
The Inside Outside Trick: If you are having trouble getting a tight install using your seat’s UAS, this may be the solution. Pulling up the car seat cover so you can pull the tail of the UAS strap at the perfect angle can make all the difference. Describing it makes it sound confusing, so just watch:
Noodle-less Install: Depending on the slope of your vehicle seats and seatbacks, you may have trouble getting your convertible seat to install at the required angle for rear-facing use. Sometimes the solution is to use a rolled up towel or a pyramid of pool noodles to correct the angle (consult your seat manual to be sure), but many times you can get the correct angle without using your noodle(s) or throwing in the towel. I wish I’d seen this video years ago, as I wasted a lot of time fiddling with unnecessary noodles.
Noodle Install: And if you do need a noodle or two, here’s how to do it: (Always confirm with your manual or call the seat manufacturer to confirm that a pool noodle is approved for use.)
Pinch Test: The correct way to make sure the harness straps are tight enough on your child is by doing what’s known as the “pinch test.” You want to make sure the straps are tight enough that you cannot pinch them between your fingers. This video shows you how to pinch, where to pinch and when you pass the pinch test.
Are You Seat Belt Ready? This video is absolutely adorable. Kid to kid, Cooper demonstrates the 5-Step Test to ensure a child is ready for the adult seat belt without a booster seat.
Where to Check for Movement: To make sure your car seat is installed tight enough, you want to tug at the belt path to ensure the seat does not move more than 1″ from side to side. You tug with the force of a firm handshake with your non-dominant hand. Who the what now? Just watch.
The Triangle Trick to Untwist Harness Straps: Since you know you should always make sure your child’s harness straps lie flat and are not twisted, you also know it is a huge pain if ever a strap gets twisted. Here’s the easiest way to fix it!
Benefits of Extended Rear-Facing Seats: I like the information and the animations in this video showing the way a child’s body moves in a collision depending on the direction of their car seat. Note that this is a video from Sweden, where children usually ride rear-facing until at least age four (and their car seats are designed to make this possible). Also note that in the animation, the car seat does not have a chest clip because European seats do not have chest clips! Fun fact! (PS: Don’t read the comments on this one.)
And another good one …
My Favourite General Installation Videos:
Rear-Facing Installation: This is an overview of installing a rear-facing infant seat with a base. It covers all the important points, including why rear-facing is the safest position for baby. I only wish they would not emphasize “age one” as a milestone age to turn baby forward facing! I love that they remind parents not to use aftermarket accessories like neck supports or bunting bags. Always read your car seat and vehicle manual and ask a CPST or the manufacturer if you have any doubts!
Rear-Facing Convertible Seat Installation: I really like how this video shows how to get up and behind a rear-facing convertible car seat to get it installed nice and snug. Always read your car seat and vehicle manual and ask a CPST or the manufacturer if you have any doubts!
Forward-Facing Installation: This video gives a really nice overview of the elements of a forward-facing install. If you are about to use a forward-facing seat for the first time, this is a must-watch! I love that it covers the most common ways we misuse our forward-facing seats by pointing out that typically the UAS is only used for children up to 40 lbs, emphasizing the use of the tether and showing how to properly adjust the harness. This video covers both UAS and seatbelt installs. Always read your car seat and vehicle manual and ask a CPST or the manufacturer if you have any doubts!
Using a Booster: This video shows you exactly how the seat belt should sit on your child when seated in a booster, and I love that it emphasizes keeping a child harnessed for as long as possible. Always read your car seat and vehicle manual and ask a CPST or the manufacturer if you have any doubts!
Also check out … Answers to Your Car Seat Questions