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Mom’s TikTok Hack Shows How to Minimize Your Car Seat’s Wiggle Room

Finding it tough to get your car seat as snug and secure as you'd like? Check out this helpful method for getting better leverage and tightening straps.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published April 24, 2024
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Image: PH888 | Shutterstock

Ensuring the safety of your child’s car seat installation is not just a task, it’s a commitment to their well-being. Yet, achieving that perfect installation can sometimes feel like navigating a maze. Thankfully, amidst the plethora of resources available—videos, in-person sessions, and instructional guides—some ingenious parents are turning to viral social hacks to guarantee that their precious cargo is secured in the safest manner possible.

Enter an ever-popular TikTok, where Joni, a nationally-certified Child Passenger Safety Technician and devoted mom, shares a gem of wisdom. In this insightful video, Joni sheds light on a common concern: even after parents diligently follow instructions, car seats can still exhibit unsettling wiggle room post-installation.

To address this, Joni introduces a clever yet simple technique aimed at achieving optimal snugness for rear-facing convertible car seats tethered to the vehicle via lower anchors (the latch system). She advises sliding the front seat all the way forward, granting you ample space to position yourself directly in front of the car seat. With a deliberate motion, utilize your hip to gently nudge the car seat towards the rear of the vehicle. Simultaneously, apply downward pressure on the seat to unveil any latent slack in the seatbelt. While pushing forward, lift up the car seat armrest cushion and pull the strap through the hole.

If you are trying to tighten from the outside without lifting up the cushion, the car seat will still have some wiggle to it, Joni notes. The force of your hip, plus the in-car seat pull, ensures the seat fits in your car super securely. “Check at the belt path for less than an inch of movement side-to-side and front-to-back,” Joni notes, and you’re good to go!

If you are looking for even more tips for ensuring your car seat is installed correctly, check out these recommendations from top safety experts.

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