What Car Seat Straps Should Look Like, According To The AAP's Guidelines

By
Share
Ad failed to load

When you're getting ready to bring your baby home, the amount of details that surround car seats alone can be overwhelming for new parents. However, making sure you get the right kind of car seat for your child's age and weight group is super important when it comes to ensuring their safety, and you'll want to be sure that you're buckling your kids in correctly every time you get in the car. And yes, that includes the tiniest of details, too — so you'll want to know what car seat straps should look like when fitted correctly.

Fortunately, the American Academy of Pediatrics has outlined a few basic rules when it comes to strapping babies safely into their car seats. First of all, parents should ensure that they're using the right car seat for their child — whether that's rear-facing, forward-facing, or simply a booster seat — and that's something that will depend on their kids' age and weight. After that, parents will want to get familiar with manufacturer's directions on how to safely secure the car seat and strap their children in, since every car seat is different.

However, regardless of each car seat's specifics, here are some general AAP-outlined rules you'll want to follow:

Ad failed to load

The Straps Should Fit Snugly

The AAP recommends doing a "pinch test" on your child's car seat straps in order to make sure they don't have any slack to them. Essentially, you shouldn't be able to pinch any excess strap.

Ad failed to load

Worried about securing the straps too tightly? Make sure you can still fit a finger between the strap and your child's chest.

Chest Clips Should Line Up With Armpits

Ad failed to load

This is a common mistake parents make when clipping their kids in. In order to make sure car seat straps fit snugly on a child's shoulders, the chest clip needs to be placed at armpit level on the child, right at the center of their chest.

Harnesses Should Be Placed Correctly

Ad failed to load

In rear-facing car seats, you'll want to make sure harnesses are installed into slots that fall either at your baby's shoulders or below them. In forward-facing car seats, harnesses should be installed in slots that fall above a child's shoulders.

Straps Need To Lie Straight

Ad failed to load

If the car seat straps are twisted, they're not falling snugly against your child's chest and protecting them. Make sure you watch for any twisted straps each and every time you buckle up your child.

Don't Use Bulky Winter Gear Under Straps

Ad failed to load

While parents want to make sure their kids stay warm during winter months, buckling children into car seats while they're wearing big, bulky coats isn't the right approach. According to the AAP, fluffy padding in coats compresses immediately in a crash, which leaves room for children to slip through their car seat straps during a collision.

Accessories like hats, booties, and mittens will help keep your child warm without compromising the straps of their car seat. Coats or blankets can be laid over top of the straps, but make sure that nothing is covering their face.

It can seem like an overwhelming set of rules at first, but a car seat is only as effective as it should be if it's installed correctly and fitted properly every time it's used. In addition to following the AAP's guidelines, make sure you also take an in-depth look at any manufacturer's notes for your child's car seat. Once you know what to look for and get the hang of adjusting your child's car seat straps correctly, buckling them in will be a breeze — and you can rest assured that you've given your kids the safest car ride possible.

Ad failed to load

Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In March

You can always count on Netflix to keep it fresh: though there are already so many movies and shows to choose from, every month there's an influx of new content to keep your entire family entertained. As February enters its final weeks, it's time to …
By Megan Walsh

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack