Car Seat Base Question — The Bump
May 2014 Moms

Car Seat Base Question

I'm trying to install the car seat base today (baby trend in a Toyota).  I have that thing as tight as I can get it behind the passenger seat with just the latch hooks.  The back is really secure (that's where the latch hooks are, so it makes sense).  But, since there's really nothing to secure the front of the base to the seat, it seems loose.  I don't remember if the infant seat with DD was like this or not.  Any ideas?  

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Re: Car Seat Base Question

  • My B-safe was the same when I installed it in my mazda 3, but not when it was installed in a honda odyssey. The only thing I can think of is because the seat depth is shallower in the mazda.
    Sorry not really any help but I'm in the same boat as you!
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  • I am in no way a car seat expert, but when we went to get our car seat checked, the officer said it just needed to be tight enough at the back (by the latches) to not move more than an inch back and forth or forward and back. He said ours was perfect, but I too felt like the front part was loose. He said its the back that matters. *shrug*
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  • Are the bubbles on the side lined up to show it is aligned/even? Sometimes you have to adjust the seat in the back? A lot of fire stations also do free car seat checks if you're unsure.
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  • Yeah, we installed our base yesterday and are confused too. We have a Honda CRV and a a Graco click connect and used the actual buckle (DH didn't think we had latch hooks). It was tight and not moving but he was worried that it was so tight that the buckles would snap. I think he's crazy. Then he found the latch clips. We used those and it's as tight as it can be and it slides back and forth a LOT! Argh! We're gonna have to get ours checked for sure. The directions looked so easy!
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  • As long as it is tight at the latch points (or seat belt path if installed that way), you are fine.
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  • This is why I'm having our base installed by a certified tech, so they can explain it to me so I can do it myself later in the event I have to pull the base for any reason.




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  • We also have the B-safe seat installed with the latches in both of our cars. Like PP said, it's nice and tight in the back and lifts a little in the front. As long as it doesn't slide more than an inch to either side, then you're good. You do need a little give for the seat to move if you're in a crash. But it made me nervous at first too.

    I did notice that between our two cars we had to adjust the recline angle of the seat to get the proper fit. Our bases have a level indicator and it says to make sure the green portion is between the two white lines to ensure the proper angle. If yours has a similar feature then try playing around with that to see if you get a better fit. And definitely have it inspected if there is a facility in your town that does it. Good luck!
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  • That's fairly normal since infant seats are not tethered. I would have it inspected but I imagine it's fine.

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  • The reason the front (the part away from the tethered part) needs to be loose is because you want the car seat to move in the event of an accident. If the car seat didn't bounce up, then the baby would absorb the impact. With the car seat being able to bounce up like that, the seat absorbs the impact.
    That's how it was explained to me at the children's hospital where ours was installed.
    ETA: that's another reason why the handle of infant car seats (or the back in general) can't be against the front seat. If it's jammed against the front seat, it prevents it from bouncing in an accident.

    All of that. I had to explain this to my husband when we installed ours because he was not happy with how it flipped upwards.

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  • What @rainydayluck said. They told us that at our prenatal classes as well. A rigid, unmoving seat is worse because all of the energy of impact gets transferred to baby. It has to be able to move somewhat.
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    Awesome!  Thanks ladies!  I never thought about it helping to absorb impact.  I suppose ours is in properly then since it doesn't move side to side, it just has a little "bounce" / looseness to the front of it.  I may find somewhere to have it inspected anyway, but our local fire department seems a little iffy on that front.  Last time they installed DD's we were uninformed and had installed it already with the latch hooks and seat belt and they didn't change it, just tightened everything and sent us on our way!  I learned shortly after that you should only use one or the other; so I give them a little side-eye for that.
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  • I sit on the base when I install it.
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    dwnslde said:
    I sit on the base when I install it.
    Oh yeah, I've definitely done that.  I bet if anyone sees this 35 week pregnant woman installing car seat bases it's quite a sight!
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  • Our Graco was fine side to side, but way looser in the front than the instructions said. We had to really lean on it, basically putting a knee on it with full weight, while pulling the strap to get it tight enough.
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  • Not all fire departments have certified car seat techs. Check online to find a place where they can do an inspection: http://www.safercar.gov/cpsApp/cps/index.htm. I found it harder than I expected to get in to have my car seat inspected. The county health would only do it by appointment the 3rd Wednesday of the month between 2 hours. They had no alternatives since I work at that time. I had to drive to the next town where a guy at the fire department would do individual appointments. I think it's worth it though, because we went through latch install, seatbelt, and baseless install. He went over how tight it should be where and why, so I feel a lot better about safely transporting my kid. There is a Facebook group called "car seats for the littles" that has a lot of good information and you can post pictures and get input from techs online. There are a lot of people as well who can give recommendations of good seats that fit in different cars too, which was super helpful to me when I was choosing a seat.



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    ehowa499 said:

    Not all fire departments have certified car seat techs. Check online to find a place where they can do an inspection: http://www.safercar.gov/cpsApp/cps/index.htm.
    I found it harder than I expected to get in to have my car seat inspected. The county health would only do it by appointment the 3rd Wednesday of the month between 2 hours. They had no alternatives since I work at that time. I had to drive to the next town where a guy at the fire department would do individual appointments. I think it's worth it though, because we went through latch install, seatbelt, and baseless install. He went over how tight it should be where and why, so I feel a lot better about safely transporting my kid. There is a Facebook group called "car seats for the littles" that has a lot of good information and you can post pictures and get input from techs online. There are a lot of people as well who can give recommendations of good seats that fit in different cars too, which was super helpful to me when I was choosing a seat.

    Thanks for all the info / links!
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  • Only check for movement at the belt path (be it seatbelt it latch install). Use your non dominant hand. It should move less than an inch. A knee in the seat/base is a great idea to help get it right.

    As others have said, the front will seem to be able to "flip up" to allow rebound in an accident.

    Many fire stations will check, even though they have no certified techs on staff. Some may have techs. Ask who ever is looking at your seat if they are a CPST with a current certification.

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  • Just got out checked at the police station today by a certified officer and he said the same thing....front is loose to absorb impact. We have a britax b-safe and installed it in the middle seat of our Prius C.







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  • This made me feel so much better! We have a baby trend as well and I have been so worried about how loose the front is! It makes sense that the front would need to be loose. I guess pregnancy brain took over reasoning on that one...
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  • Just throwing this out there so you know, but Baby Trend seats usually don't fit small newborns very well. Make sure the straps are at the babies shoulders or below once you strap them in.
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    Em&Jon said:

    Just throwing this out there so you know, but Baby Trend seats usually don't fit small newborns very well. Make sure the straps are at the babies shoulders or below once you strap them in.

    Hmm...we had one with DD too. I probably never noticed since I never used another brand. We'll see how it goes this time! Thanks for the heads up!

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