Most parents are aware of the research that shows car seats save lives. Texas has a law that mandates the use of car seats or booster seats for children age 8 and under. However, having a car seat and using it is not enough to provide the security your child needs in a crash. You must learn how to properly install the car seat for it to be effective. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains that proper installation means ensuring that the seat is snuggly fastened in the vehicle and that your child is securely fastened into the seat. Correct installation and fit will help ensure that the car seat can do its job and protect your child in the event of a car accident. Fastening your child When putting your child into the car seat, you need to be sure the harness is in the correct position. You will need to adjust this as your child grows. The ideal spot is right at the height of your child’s shoulders. However, if the slots for the harness do not match the height of your child’s shoulders, you should use the lower slot in forward-facing seats and the higher slot for backward-facing seats. Make sure straps all lie flat without any twisting or bunching. The chest clip should rest at the armpit level against the chest. Always tighten the straps to ensure they are snug. Securing in the vehicle When installing the seat in your vehicle, make sure you use either the anchor or a seat belt. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions on installation. If the seat has a leveling device, ensure that it is level when adjusting the angle of the seat. If you use a seat belt to secure the seat, make sure it is tight. The seat should not move from side to side or front to back more than slightly when strapped into your vehicle.