car seat safety

How to Safely Buckle a Car Seat for the Best Fit & General Car Seat Safety

At Chicco, child safety is our priority – especially when it comes to riding in the car. That’s why we're committed to helping parents and caregivers learn the ins and outs of proper car seat safety, including how to buckle your child in a car seat properly and what you should know about car seat safety.

Car Seat Safety Step 1 - How to Tighten the Harness Step 1 of how to buckle a child in a car seat demo. Tighten the harness and chest clip until your hand is touching the child.

Tighten the Harness

Buckle the harness and chest clip then put your hand behind the clip to eliminate slack in the webbing. Tighten the harness until your hand is touching your child.

Car Seat Safety Step 2 - Testing Harness with a Pinch Step 2 of how to buckle a child in a car seat demo. Test the harness tightness by pinching it between your fingers.

Test with a Pinch

If you can pinch any of the harness webbing between your fingers, it means the harness is too loose. When the harness is properly tightened, your fingers will simply slip off.1

Car Seat Safety Step 3 - Proper Chest Clip Height Positioning Step 3 of how to buckle a child in a car seat demo. Line the height of the chest clip up to the top of the child’s armpits.

Chest Clip Height

To ensure your child's chest clip is at the correct height, line it up with the top of his armpits. When properly positioned, the chest clip is designed to keep the harness straps parallel over the torso in a crash.2

Chicco Fit2 Car Seat - Securing your child correctly

Learn how to correctly secure your child in the Fit2

Did you know?

Do Winter Coats Interfere With Car Seat Harnesses?

Yes, you should avoid buckling your child with a winter coat on since the bulky fabric could prevent a tight harness fit. Instead, buckle and tighten in without a coat, then put the coat on backward or use a blanket.3

Incorrect buckling of Car Seat when wearing a Winter Coat


Correct space created in car seat buckling when wearing a Winter Coat

Space created by coat

Correct car seat buckling with no Winter Coat being worn


When to Make a Change

There's no reason to rush from rear-facing to forward-facing, or from a five-point harness to a belt-positioning booster. Keep your little one in his current car seat as long as possible until he reaches the maximum weight or height allowance from the manufacturer, whichever comes first.4 To learn more about when to transition from a car seat to a booster, check out our guide to Car Seat Stages.

Maturity Matters

As you consider making the move to a belt-positioning booster, remember that age and maturity are as important as height and weight. Since belt-positioning boosters rely on the vehicle seat belt for restraint—rather than a 5-point harness—your child must be able to sit relatively still and keep the seat belt properly positioned on her body throughout every car ride.

How to use a Booster Correctly

The vehicle lap belt should lie flat across your child's upper thighs—not across the soft abdomen—and the shoulder belt should cross over the middle of her shoulder and across the center of her chest.

How to use graphic Graphic demonstration of proper seat belt safety including where the seatbelt should rest across your child’s lap and chest.

Graduating From a Booster Seat

Children are usually ready to move from their booster directly into the vehicle seat anywhere between 8 and 12 years-old. To see if your child is ready, buckle her into the vehicle seat and make sure her back and bottom are pushed all the way against the backrest. If her knees bend naturally at the edge of the seat, the vehicle lap belt fits across her upper thighs or low on the hips and the shoulder belt fits across her shoulder and chest, she no longer needs a booster.5

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