Car Seat Safety Tip #1 - Use One Vehicle Restraint System at a Time

Before you install your child's car seat, you will have to decide which vehicle restraint system you are going to use. You can use the UAS (Universal Anchorage System) also called the LATCH (Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children) System or, you can use the seatbelt but don't use two systems at the same time. 

If your car was manufactured in 2002 or after, there is a good chance that it is equipped with anchor bars.  The connectors that you see in the photo above clip onto the anchor bars to secure the child car seat.  This system is called UAS/ LATCH system but I will refer to it as UAS since that is what we use in Canada.

The other system is the seatbelt.  It is not as user-friendly as the UAS system, but it works just as well.  There are cases when the seat belt is the only option, like if the car is an older model and does not have a UAS system or, when the UAS system and the car model are not compatible. But in most cases, this system works just fine.

The common car seat installation mistake is to use two systems at once.  Unfortunately, using two systems does not make the car seat safer, in fact, it makes the car seat unsafe. Each system works in a particular way so when both systems are engaged,  they end up working against each other.  

If you are going to install your child's car seat using the UAS system, you will have to find the anchor bars first. You will find them below and behind the small round markings on the back of your vehicles rear car seat. Hook the connectors onto the anchor bars and make sure no straps are twisted before you tighten. 


After you have installed your child's car seat, use all your strength to try and move it.  If it does not move more than one inch in any direction and, if the seat angle is correct, you may have done a pretty good installation. 

So that you know, support is available to you through St. John Ambulance car seat clinics. The clinics run on a donation basis and have educators like myself to guide you.  I highly recommend to take this opportunity and learn this valuable skill.  All children deserve to ride in a car seat that is as secure as everyone else's.  Good luck, drive safe and refer to your user manuals.  Any questions?  Please don't hesitate to ask.  Have a beautiful day:)

Posted on May 5, 2016 and filed under Car Seat Safety.