How to tell if carseat is installed properly?

I bought a new car seat- it had great reviews and whatnot, and it was quite expensive. We installed it in my car, but I was quite disturbed how unsecure it was. It seems to move around a lot and if I push the top back it will rotate all the way down.

I've got the strap exactly the way it says in the instructions, and I have it quite tight, but it just seems poorly designed. The "flat part" that sits on the seat is only 5" long,and then there are two straps that clip in to the carseat mounts in the seat. no matter how tight that strap is, the seat gives enough to rotate that 5" area to fall forward or back.

Since its supposed to be a safe seat, and all of us who looked at it agreed its installed as the directions state, I guess I'm just being paranoid. Maybe there is no way for that to happen in a wreck or something. the old car seat (with carrier) was so snug though, this one just worries us.

Can someone else confirm that a properly mounted seat can move around a bit? or where we can to to find someone that can confirm installation?

The leverage points on all the convertible car seats appear terrible at the store, so I must just be paranoid.


It tips front to back, not side to side.

What the heck is a carseat tech. Never heard of that?

Not sure on the carseat brand/model. I might have to wait for my other half to get back with my car. She drove it today to work.

6 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    You can find a CPST (child passenger safety technician) near you at

    If you're just moving out of an infant carrier, you are installing a rear facing convertible seat, right? Children should rear face until age 2 at a minimum, the closer to age 4 the better though.

    You should only test for movement at the belt path, front to back and side to side. The farther away from the belt path you test, the more movement you will get. It's quite common to be able to move the "head" area of a rear facing car seat quite a bit.

  • 8 years ago

    Car crashes are currently the leading cause of both disability and death for children under age 12 in the United States. A car seat technician can also be known as a child passenger safety technician. These are people who take a class and learn about car seats because car seats can be complicated. Trust me- you are not the only parent out there where a car seat's installation baffled or absolutely confused them. A good technician will teach you how to install your child's car seat. Some charge money, but you should be able to find one for free, usually in a hospital.

    This website is a forum where parents can ask questions regarding child passenger safety. A child passenger safety technician will help you answer your questions. It helps to tell them what car you drive, your child's age, weight, and torso height (bum to shoulder height), and car seat brand name. Installation pictures also help a lot. You don't even need to register to post your question, but you may need to register to post a picture. A picture really is a thousand words.

    When your hand is at the top of the car seat's shell (the part by the baby's head) and if you move your hand around, the seat will flip back toward the vehicle seat. This movement is called rebound and is normal movement on a rear facing car seat.

    Here is an installation video of a convertible car seat; as the lady says, "check for movement at the belt path..." she demonstrates how NOT to check a rear facing installation:

    Youtube thumbnail

    (The green things under the car seat are pool noodles; up to three pool noodles can be placed there in the vehicle seat bight to get a 45 degree angle for a newborn; older children with head control can be more upright).

    Try the car seat tech first because he or she might now some tricks to get the car seat in tight. Also, instead of using the lower anchors to install the car seat, try using the vehicle's seat belt. Sometimes installing a car seat with a different installation method or in a different seating location can change the way the car seat installs in the car. If the car seat still moves more than 1 inch side to side or front to back, then it may be an incompatibility; sadly, not all car seats, even expensive ones can fit in all vehicles or cars.

    As a side note, are you aware about the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations? The AAP recommendations say that a properly used rear facing car seat is always safer than a properly used forward facing car seat. This is why the AAP says to keep children rear facing for as long as possible, until the child is at least 2 years old, preferably longer.

    Here are some links about extend rear facing (rear facing past legal minimum); the first three links are videos from youtube and the last link is a website with a lot of information:

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  • Bobbi
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Did you go to a car seat tech? Rear facing seats, especially convertible seats will tip from the top to the back of the rear seat. This is made this way. The seat should not wiggle side to side. What seat do you have?


    EDIT ---

    I'm saying still rear facing? Then the top of the child seat will tip towards the back of the passenger seat. I have a Diono Radian, and not much sits on the seat. If its not moving side to side, sounds like at least for the most part you do have a correct install.


    Car seat techs can be found depending on where you are. In our area, car seat techs are only found at the health dept, WIC, and the local hospitals. Other areas might have firemen that are certiced car seat techs. These people are trained to install car seats correctly and answer your questions. You might want to call the hospital where the baby was born, and as if they know of car seat techs or safety programs in your town.

    Source(s): here is an example of a car seat clinic in Dayton Ohio
  • 8 years ago


    en i

    if you are 100% sure you have installed the car seat properly as per instructions then it could simply be that the one you have chosen is not compatible with your car.if you have leather seats the movement you are not happy with could be it slipping so try a slip mat.any decent baby store should be able to check if it is fitted correctly. did you buy on line or in store? always trust your instincts. if you not happy with it then don't accept it. you should try the online fitfinder most car seat companies hheave were you can enter your car details and it should give you the best fit for your car.we fit car seats all the time and would never ever sell one if it wasn't checked instore and in the customers car. your baby needs to be safe so don't feel you cant ask in a shop even if you didn't buy it there. good luck let us know how you get on xx

    Source(s): retail 13yrs
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  • chukri
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    i'd the two purchase a sparkling carseat that is able to be precise put in along with your new motor vehicle OR pass to the close by fire station and ask them to place in the carseat for you. *Im uncertain approximately this ; yet are you actual available that the two are needed. i be attentive to that with my LOs motor vehicle seat, that is put in with basically the latch. No further choose for the seat belt too! :-P **understanding: Why are you giving her coaching reguarding FF & RF? became that the question that she asked? NO. and you're performing as though the latch isn't able for use RF.. wherein case you would be incorrect.

  • Ellen
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Call your local police department and ask where you can find an accredited car seat technician; someone who is trained in the proper installation of car seats. They are often first responders, and sometimes can be found at auto clubs (like AAA).

    Source(s): hospital IBCLC and mothers' group leader 20+ years mom to 3
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