City of St. Paul Park 

on the Mississippi

Child Car Seats

You may have heard that 80% of child car seats are installed incorrectly.  This sounds alarming, but in fact, the most common errors are simple ones that can be easily corrected.

  • The harness straps are too loose.  Tighten the straps so they are snug against the child. 
  • The retainer clip on the chest harness is too low.  Slide the clip to the baby's or child's armpit level. 
  • The child car seat is too loose.  Tighten the belt so that it does not move more than an inch from side-to-side or front-to-back.  Center your weight, kneel in the seat and pull the safety belt tight. 
  • Babies switched to a forward-facing car seat too soon.  Keep kids rear-facing as long s the car seat allows (to age 2 is recommended).
  • Children in the wrong seat for their size.  Don't rush a child into a safety belt.
For information about how to select and install car seats, visit

As they grow, don't skip a step:
  1. Rear-facing seat as long as possible, until the child outgrows the height and weight limits of the seat.  Experts now recommend rear-facing until age 2 (12 months and 20 pounds is actually considered the minimum size and age for changing to a forward-facing seat).
  2. Forward-facing seat with a harness until the child is at least age four.
  3. Booster seat until the child is 4' 9" tall.
  4. Adult safety belt will fit properly when child is more than 4' 9".

And no matter what type of restraint, remember--kids are safest in the back seat.
City of St. Paul Park, 600 Portland Avenue, St. Paul Park MN 55071