INDIANAPOLIS — A woman charged in connection with her child’s death said she didn’t know how to adjust the car seat. At the same time, with people heading out for trips during Spring Break, knowing the correct way to adjust a car seat is important.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says car seats and boosters provide protection for infants and children in a crash. At the same time, 46% of car seats and booster seats are used incorrectly.

“If the straps are not adjusted correctly and your child is in the seat you run the risk of the child being injured in a crash, said Aleatha Henderson, Director of Public Education for the Indianapolis Fire Department. “The child could even possibly be ejected out of the seat.”

Henderson says the first step in making sure the car seat is used correctly is making sure the car seat fits the vehicle and is in the vehicle properly. The car seat should be fully on the vehicle’s seat and fastened so that it cannot be moved more than an inch when budged.

The NHTSA says there are several ways people can secure a car seat, including with a seatbelt and anchors. People should never use both methods at once. They tell people to read with the car seat’s instruction manual and the portion of the vehicle’s owner manual on car seat installation. 

Car Seat Installation Tips

After the car seat is installed correctly in the vehicle, Henderson says people should make sure they understand how to secure the child correctly in the seat. This includes having the harness at the right hight, chest clip located properly and straps tightened correctly. The NHTSA provided some tips for this as well.


If people in Indianapolis are still having trouble, or aren’t sure if they are adjusting the car seat properly, they can make an appointment by visiting the IFD’s website. During the appointment, they can have their car seat checked out to make sure it is installed correctly and the child is fastened correctly. The department also offers car seats for people who cannot afford one.

Statewide, there are 1,293 technicians and 103 inspection sites. You can find a map of participating locations below: