Car Seat Basics: Noodle-less Installation

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Noodle-less installation

Noodle-less installation

Our Facebook group is a busy place. We’re there 24/7, helping caregivers select, install, and use their car seats correctly. In the past, many rear facing car seats required a pool noodle to get the correct recline angle but we’ve got some other tricks up our sleeve. We thought we’d dedicate some time to describing one of our favorite installation methods: the noodle-less installation.

This is not a new installation method. In fact, we posted a video demonstrating this method to our YouTube channel in May 2013. You can watch the video here.

Before you Begin: some manufacturers require that the car seat’s base is flush with the vehicle seat.  Please check your car seat’s manual before using this installation method.

Here’s how it works:

  • Set the child restraint on the vehicle seat with the harness facing the rear of the vehicle and push the front seat as far forward as it will go. Climb into the vehicle seating area in front of the child restraint (facing the trunk of the vehicle).
  • If installing with the Lower Anchors: Attach the lower anchor connectors on the car seat to the vehicle’s
  • If installing with the Vehicle Seat Belt: Thread the vehicle seat belt through the rear facing belt path and buckle
  • Confirm that the child restraint is at the correct angle by checking the recline angle indicator (bubble/ball/line, etc)
  • Facing the rear of the vehicle, stand over the car seat and use your hips to apply pressure to the child restraint
  • Keeping that pressure applied, push down on the child restraint’s rear facing belt path with one hand while you remove the slack from the seat belt or lower anchors with the other hand (lock the vehicle seat belt if the child restraint does not feature lockoffs)

Ta da! That’s all there is to it (it took longer for you to read those instructions than it will likely take you to install the seat using this method). Be sure to check that the seat moves less than one inch at the belt path in any direction when checked with the force of a handshake, and double check that the angle is still correct and you are good to go!