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How to put your baby in a car seat the right way | Bugaboo

How to put your baby in a car seat the right way

Safety first! But as far as your baby’s car seat goes, what does that mean other than simply having and using it? Putting your child in correctly. When it comes to how to put your baby in a car seat, there are a few things you should know. 

Just remember that a safe car seat isn’t much good if you don’t use it correctly. And even the best car seat practices aren’t much good if the car seat is faulty. But learning how to put your baby in a car seat is simple and exactly what we’ll cover in this article.

First, we’ll discuss what you need to know to buckle your baby in correctly. Then, we’ll leave you with a few tips on how to choose and use a secure car seat. 

How to put your baby in a car seat

When you’re ready to zoom off on your next family adventure, your baby needs to ride in the car seat. Here’s what to do as you snap them in.

Remove your baby’s jacket

Baby in winter jacket

First things first, remove your baby’s jacket before putting them in their car seat. Bulky clothing can prevent the car seat from doing its job since the bulk makes it difficult to get the straps snug against your baby’s body. 

With a jacket on, the straps are looser than they seem since they’re tight against the clothing, not your child’s body. 

Take off your child’s jacket, buckle them in, and adjust the straps as needed. Then, cover them with a blanket or coat (try putting it on backward!) to keep them warm for the ride. 

There’s no harm in covering your baby with a cozy blanket (tucked away from their face) after they’re securely strapped in. 

The bottom line is that nothing bulky — coats, blankets, and the rest — should go between your baby’s body and the car seat straps.

Concerned about your baby being chilly when they’re not cozy in their coat? We recommend a soft blanket, such as the Bugaboo soft wool blanket, that’s suitable for sensitive baby skin. 

This highly breathable blanket is made with the finest merino wool to regulate your baby’s temperature all year round.

Here’s another idea to keep your baby warm while in the car.

If you have a travel system, keep the car seat in your house, put your baby in while you’re still inside, then click the car seat into the base in the car when you’re ready to go. That way, your baby has a cozy, room temperature car seat to travel in. 

For anyone who may not know, a travel system includes a stroller frame (called a chassis) and a removable car seat that fits into the stroller frame as well as the car seat base in your car.

Mom using travel system car seat

With a travel system, you can move your baby from the car to the stroller without ever unbuckling them. And, as for keeping your baby warm in the car, a travel system allows you to easily remove the car seat from the car and keep it inside so it’s warm and always ready to go.

The Bugaboo Turtle One by Nuna and Turtle Air by Nuna car seats are both compatible with all current Bugaboo strollers. Check out the Bugaboo stroller travel systems and bundles here.

Buckle your baby 

Adult buckling baby into car seat

With their coat out of the way, you can now buckle your baby into the car seat. If yours has a five-point harness, that means that the shoulder straps and hip straps come together and buckle at your baby’s diaper area.

The Bugaboo Turtle One by Nuna offers a five-point harness that’s easy to buckle and unbuckle, ensuring you’re always ready to ride, stroll, and go.

Read the instructions for your car seat so you know how to buckle it properly, whether it’s a five-point harness or otherwise.

Make sure the straps are snug

After buckling, adjust the straps so they’re not too loose and not too tight, but juust right. They should be snug against your baby’s body. Make sure the straps lie flat and aren’t twisted. 

Then, do a pinch test to check for tightness. If you pinch along the length of the strap and have a fold of the strap between your fingers, it’s too loose. If the harness is tight enough, there won’t be any slack and your fingers will slide off when you try to pinch.

Check the placement of the clip

Parent checking chest clip on car seat

The last step is to check the placement of the chest clip. It should be centered on your baby’s chest at the level of their armpits — not higher or lower. If the clip is not in this position, slide it up or down to adjust it.

That’s it! You and your tiny co-pilot are ready to roll. 

Now that you know how to put your baby in a car seat, we’ll wrap up by going over how to choose and use a secure car seat. If you’re shopping around, this is for you.

How to choose and use a secure car seat

Check age and size requirements 

To keep your child secure as they travel the road ahead, be sure to choose the right car seat for their age and size. Babies start in a rear-facing car seat before moving to a forward-facing car seat and then to a booster seat as an older child. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you keep your child in their rear-facing car seat until they outgrow it. When they reach the weight and height limits, then — and only then — is it time to graduate to the next seat. 

This has more to do with your child’s size, not their age. Don’t rush the process.

For example, your baby can ride in the Bugaboo Turtle Air by Nuna until they reach 32.6 inches or 32 pounds. Until then, this secure and comfy car seat is the ticket. 

Rest easy knowing that the Turtle Air by Nuna's materials have been carefully developed and meticulously tested so that they efficiently absorb force and protect your little co-pilot. 

And, since it’s compatible with the Bugaboo Bee 6, Fox 3, Donkey 5 (made for two), Butterfly, and Lynx strollers, the car seat’s ultra-lightweight design (it weighs just over seven pounds!) lets you move seamlessly from the stroller to the car and back again.

Mom with travel system stroller

Purchase a new car seat

Since it takes a village to raise a child, you’ll probably treasure the special hand-me-downs from friends and family. That said, a few baby products are better brand new. A car seat is one of them. 

Using a new car seat allows you to be sure that it still has all its parts and has never been in a crash.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you shouldn’t use a car seat if it’s too old, has cracks, is missing the manufacturing label or instructions, is missing parts, has been recalled, or has been in a crash — even a moderate one.

Purchasing new helps you avoid all of these problems. 

Install the car seat correctly

Once you have your car seat, install it correctly for optimal performance. Since the exact installation procedures depend on the brand and model of your car seat, refer to the manual. If you tossed the manual in the trash (it happens to the best of us), find it online. 

If you want a pro to install the car seat for you or simply check to be sure you’ve done it correctly, turn to a Child Passenger Safety Technician. They’re specifically trained in car seat installation and will put your mind at ease. 

To find a technician in your area, ask your hospital or OBGYN. 

Off you go! 

Parent putting baby in car seat

With this information on how to put your baby in a car seat, you’re ready to hit the road with your tiny partner in crime. 

Keep in mind that a car seat doesn’t do much good if your baby isn’t buckled in correctly. But, by following the instructions you read in this article, your baby will be good to go.

Remove your baby’s jacket, buckle them in, tighten the straps, and check the placement of the chest clip. Remember that you can always cover your baby with a soft wool blanket if you’re worried about them getting cold without their jacket. 

And, of course, a travel system car seat, like the Bugaboo Turtle One by Nuna or Turtle Air by Nuna, will make on-the-go days a breeze, whether you’re strapping your baby in on a cold winter day or bopping from the car to the stroller and back again.