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Car Seat Installs Don’t Have to Be DIY: November 24, 2013

Putting in a new car seat doesn’t have to be a DIY job. In fact many do-it-yourselfers are getting it wrong, which is why Lee Memorial Health System is lending a hand.

“My advice to parents, don’t do the guesswork you might make mistakes. Come to us we’ll take you step by step, you’ll be a professional by the time you come to us,” says Lina Quintana, child advocate for Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

Robert Dowd asked for help. He didn’t know where to begin, putting in a seat for his great granddaughter to use on vacation.

“With a little instruction it’s much clearer,” says Dowd.

The biggest mistake first-timers make is not reading the car seat manual. If you plan to go it alone, use it to find out how the particular seat is meant to go in. Next, determine the type of installation of system your car supports. There are two variations.

“There are vehicles that are older then ‘02 and the vehicles that are newer than ‘02. That’s where the cut-off for different installation comes into play. You either install it with a seat belt or you install it with a latch system. The latch system is two bars that are built into your vehicle,” says Quintana.

Where you put the seat is up to you, as long as it’s in the back. The middle is a popular position, but you should consider several factors.

“It is depends on parent’s height, size of that car seat, size of that vehicle. So parents are over sold in the middle installation it doesn’t really work in many vehicles,” says Quintana.

Wherever you choose, the seat should be secured snuggly. And give no more than an inch from side-to-side. When in doubt ask, the health system offers car safety sessions on a regular basis, or you can call and make an appointment.

“We’ll show you how to do it, it’s free of charge. Grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles anybody so come take advantage of the program,” says Quintana.

A lot is riding on your actions.