Relax, parents: FHP offers help installing child car seats

By Ryan Harper, Real Time Traffic Expert
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 04, 2017, 3:11 PM EST

New parenthood comes with new challenges, but one of the more frustrating ones comes with dealing with properly installing your child safety seat yourself.

  • Troopers offer tips for safely, properly installing child car seats
  • Motorists in Florida can get pulled over for improperly securing child
  • FHP will inspect your child car seat at certain locations

So, we visited a designated safety inspection location — the Florida Highway Patrol station off Semoran Boulevard in Orange County — where Trooper Steve Montiero told us how to properly install one.

Although the task can seem a little overwhelming at first, an inspection location has mentors ready to help.

"We deal with car seat installation, car seat inspections, the latch systems, the old-school car seats to the new-school car seats,” Montiero said.

“It's not only car seats. We're dealing with booster seats; we are looking at the other accessories out there that people like to put on those car seats, whether they are good for the car or not."

Law enforcement officers don't joke around when it comes to having your child properly secured. It is a primary offense if you're caught with your child improperly secured — meaning, you can be pulled over for it.

Be aware of the proper height and weight restrictions with each seat. Some hospitals are adamant that you not leave the hospital without having your seat properly secured and inspected before taking your infant home.

As it turns out, with the help of a professional, installing your child car seat can be rather easy, especially if your vehicle has a latch system.

"If your vehicle does not have the latch system in it, which would be the straps, then you would use your seat belt," Montiero said. “But if the latch system is there, we always use it."

Montiero urges motorists to avoid adding anything to your child seat’s exterior without getting it checked first. In the event of accidents, that can sometimes lead to severe injuries.

Also, the newer the better. It is not always safe to use older models. They may have defects or wear and tear.

If you are looking for a child car seat safety inspection location, go to safecar.gov, or for an FHP location that offers these services, go to flhsmv.gov/safety-center/driving-safety/child-safety/.

After you find a convenient location, you need to make an appointment.