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Installation Checklist 2: Rear-facing Convertible Car Seat

Important: This is a general checklist designed to be used in combination with your vehicle owner’s manual and your child car seat instruction manual. To get the most out of this checklist, have those manuals handy for quick reference.

"Convertible" means the car seat can be used both forward facing and rear facing. There are three types of convertible seats; the five-point harness style is considered the safest.

___ rear-facing convertible Seat1) Check that the car seat is correct for the child’s weight and height.
  • Weight: up to 30 - 40 pounds (varies by manufacturer; check label on car seat for both weight and height limits).
  • Car seat with 5-point harness is preferred.
___ 2) Place the car seat in the back seat of the vehicle.
  • If the vehicle is an SUV or van with three rows of seats, place the car seat in the middle row.
  • Place the car seat in the center of vehicle seat, if possible (see vehicle owner's manual for details). Note: You may not be able to get a tight fit in the center seat. If that is the case, try to place the car seat in the back seat on the left or right side near a window.
  • Turn the car seat to face the rear of the vehicle.
___ 3) Select one method only to install the car seat.
  • Lap belt only (usually found in middle of back seat)
  • Lap and shoulder belt
  • LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, built into the vehicle – see below).
Note: Top tethers are not to be used with most rear-facing convertible seats. If you are using a rear-facing convertible seat, check your car seat instruction manual to confirm that you can use the tether safely.

___ 4) Attach the car seat.Rear-facing convertible Car Seat

Important: You must check labels on the car seat and the car seat instruction manual for information on how to attach the car seat using either the lap belt, lap and shoulder belt, or LATCH system. Also check your vehicle owner’s manual for instructions, including whether you need to use a locking clip. Be sure to check instructions for the rear-facing position.
  • Position the car seat so the baby rides sitting in a semi-reclined position (30-45 degree angle– see photo).
___ 5) Tighten the vehicle belt or lower anchor attachment (LATCH).
  • The car seat must not move more than one inch from side to side or front to back at the point of attachment. Have another person push down firmly on the child car seat while you tighten the vehicle belt, or kneel on the car seat yourself while you tighten the vehicle belt.
___ 6) Buckle the baby into the car seat (see photo).
  • Use the right harness slots. Harness straps should be at or below the child’s shoulders for rear-facing.
  • Check that the harness straps are snug and flat on the child’s shoulders.
  • Check that the plastic harness retainer clip is at the child’s armpit level.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation

See how to do it on video: "Your Baby - Newborn to Age 2 in Rear-facing Seats" linked from

Protect children from traffic injuries. You can do it!

Content provided by the Minnesota Safety Council, AAA Clubs of Minnesota, Safe Kids Minnesota and the
Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety.