FAQs : Car Seats

Is there a recommended useful life for car seats?
Car seats are a safety device. To properly protect your child, the car seat must be in good shape and all labels and instructions present and readable. DJG car seats now have expiration dates molded into the shell and sometimes the base of the car seat. The expiration date will be from 6 to 8 years after the manufacture date. This is important for several reasons. For example; the webbing, buckles, adjusters and other components will be subjected to various exposures such as food, cleaners, drinks and other potential contaminants which may hinder the proper operation or degrade the product. The labelling on the car seat may no longer be readable .The instructions may have become lost. The history of the car seat becomes more difficult to verify as the the product ages; for example, the car seat may have been involved in an accident that may affect the product integrity .The plastic on a car seat could degrade over time depending upon how the car seat has been stored. If the owner of the car seat has changed, this makes getting in contact with the current owner, in the event of a recall, much more difficult. Car seats and the regulations governing them are constantly improving with potentially better alternatives available. For these reasons, car seats have an expiration date provided as a guideline as to how long it should be used to protect your child in the event of a crash. Unless you know the history of a car seat, do not use it. Do not buy a second hand car seat. For older car seats, the expiration date can be determined by adding 6 years (or 8 years for 3-in-1 seats) to the manufacture date stamped on a label on the seat.
What if my car seat has two expirations dates – one on the shell and the other on the car seat base?
In certain cases, some car seats have two (2) expiration dates; one on the shell and one on the base. Although this is not a safety issue, DJG understands this may be confusing to the consumer. The date on the shell takes precedent. For instance, an Alpha Elite car seat which has a base could have an expiration date on the shell of 2018 while the base may have an expiration date of 2017. As the shell expiration date has precedents over the base this car seat would expire in 2018. DJG has taken steps to eliminate this confusion. 

For any questions on this subject please feel free to call our Consumer Relations Department at 1-800-544-1108, Monday through Thursday, 8AM to 6PM, Friday 8AM to 4:30PM EST.
Are there any warranties for my car seat?
Dorel Juvenile Group warrants its products to be free from defects in workmanship and material under normal household use and service for one year following date of purchase for most products. This warranty shall not apply to damages arising from neglect, accidental damage, or commercial use of the product. This is a limited warranty. Liability for consequential property damage is expressly excluded. Proof of purchase is required. To make a claim under this warranty, you must contact Dorel Juvenile Group's Consumer Relations Department by emailing consumer@djgusa.com, or faxing us at 1-800-207-8182, or writing to the following address: Dorel Juvenile Group Consumer Relations Department PO Box 2609 Columbus, IN 47202-2609. You may also contact the Consumer Relations Department at 1-800-544-1108 where you can speak to a Consumer Relations Representative. Hours of operation are Monday - Thursday 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST and 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM EST on Friday. Proof of purchase is required.
At what level should the harness straps be for my child in the forward facing toddler position?
For a child that is in the forward facing toddler position, the straps must be even with or above the child's shoulders.
At what level should the harness straps be for my child in the rear facing position?
For an infant that is rear facing, the harness straps should be even with or just below the baby's shoulders. If the harness is above the baby's shoulders with the straps in the lowest position, do not use the car seat until the baby grows into it.
Can I still use the latch strap if it comes loose from my car seat?
when it's installed forward-facing?
Use the car seat per the instructions. Most allow the use of the recline feature, but we are trying to match the vehicle seat back profile for maximum protection.
Do I have to use a base with my infant car seat?
A base is an accessory item and does not have to be used to install your infant car seat. In fact, certain situations may require the removal of the base in order to get a secure fit. For example, if your vehicle seats are very narrow or if you are using the seat for airline travel, you may find that you get a more secure fit by installing the seat without the base.
Does my child have to be 34 inches to go forward facing?
We are evaluating this recommendation, however for now, this is how the product was tested and certified. Certain test parameters exist depending on the height and weight recommendations for the car seat.
How did DJG test for the Summit® booster car seats?
DJG used what is referred to as the "5th percentile female." This dummy is a small stature adult female dummy. It weighs 108 lbs.
How do I clean my car seat?
Wipe plastic, vinyl, and metal parts with a damp sponge or cloth. For fabrics, use warm sudsy water, rinse with clean water, and air dry. The harness system should be cleaned with mild soap and water. Wipe the outside of the buckle with a damp cloth. Do not lubricate the buckle or immerse in water. Do not use bleach or harsh chemicals on your car seat and do not dry clean. Use of cleaning agents such as these can damage your car seat and cause deterioration of the materials.
How do I install my car seat on an airplane?
Use the car seat only with FAA certified equipment. The car seat should be installed in the aircraft seat in the same way that it is installed in the vehicle with a lap belt. Use on forward facing aircraft seats only and in a position where the lap belt can be tightened securely. It is always advisable to contact the airline prior to taking a car seat on board.
How do I install the base for my infant car seat?
Thread the vehicle belt through the belt path at the foot of the base. If the vehicle lap and should belts are attached, thread both through the belt path. Buckle the vehicle belt and adjust as tightly as possible by pushing down firmly on the base while pulling up on the shoulder belt until the lap belt is tight. It is not necessary to make the base completely immobile, but the base should not move more than an inch or two from side to side.
How do I know if the car seat is installed securely?
After tightening the lap belt as much as possible, tilt and push the child restraint forward and to both sides. If no loosening occurs, your car seat should be secure. If your seat moves more than an inch when you push on it at the belt path, or you have any doubts regarding the security of your seat, try using a locking clip or move the car seat to another location where you can tighten the vehicle belt securely. It is also important to thoroughly read your instruction manual to ensure proper installation of your car seat.
How do I order additional parts and accessories for my car seat?
Dorel Juvenile Group does not recommend the use of any car seat accessories except those items that have been produced and approved for your seat by the car seat manufacturer. All accessories and additional parts can be ordered from the Consumer Relations Department. You must have your model number and manufacturing date of the product to order parts, accessories, or instructions. To order, e-mail the Consumer Relations Department at consumer@djgusa.com, fax us at 1-800-207-8182, or write to the following address: Dorel Juvenile Group Consumer Relations Department P.O. Box 2609 Columbus, IN 47202-2609. You may also contact the Consumer Relations Department at 1-800-544-1108 where you can speak to a Consumer Relations Representative. Hours of operation are Monday - Thursday 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST and 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM EST on Friday.
How do I use the LATCH system?
The LATCH system can only be used in vehicles that already have the anchor bars installed in the vehicle seat bight. These anchor bars cannot be retrofitted into the vehicle. Refer to your vehicle owner's manual to see which seating positions may be equipped with the LATCH system. The car seat is used with the LATCH system the same way as it is with the vehicle seat belt. The LATCH system does not, for example, allow an infant to be placed rear facing in the front passenger seat with an active air bag. Please refer to your instruction manual for specific installation instructions.
How is the tether installed in my vehicle?
Vehicles manufactured after 1989 have pre-drilled holes but need to have the anchor hardware installed. Most vehicles after 9/1/99 have the anchor hardware already installed. Please refer to your vehicle owner's manual or call your vehicle dealership for more information regarding the installation of the tether in your vehicle.
How long should my child remain rear facing?
Infants should remain rear facing until they are both 1 year old and weigh 22 pounds. However, it is important to remember that all children grow at different rates. Your child may outgrow his infant car seat before he is 1 year old. You must stop using the seat when the top of your child's head comes within one inch of the top of the car seat. If this happens, you can move your child to a convertible seat that rear faces to 35 pounds or he may need to ride forward facing if he is over 1 year old.
What is a tether strap and when should it be used?
The tether is a long strap that attaches to the back of your child's car seat. The tether is used for the forward facing toddler position only. When not in use, it is preferable for the tether to be removed. Please refer to your instruction manual for instructions and diagrams for installing and removing the tether from your car seat.
What is the difference between a 5-point restraint system and a 3-point restraint system?
A 5-point car seat has the harness straps positioned in five areas of the seat, two behind the shoulders, two on each side of the waist, and one in the center or crotch area. A 3-point car seat has straps that are positioned in 3 areas, two behind the shoulders and one in the crotch area. Both 5-point and 3-point car seats must meet the same applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
What is the LATCH system?
The Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children system allows a car seat to be secured in the vehicle without using the vehicle belt system, which may not be compatible with car seats. No extra parts, such as a locking clip, are required.
What should I do if my baby's head falls forward while seated rear facing in the car seat?
On some vehicle seats, the infant restraint may sit too upright. It may be necessary to place a tightly rolled towel or small blanket underneath the front edge of the seat so the bottom is level (horizontal).
When should I use a locking clip?
Before you put your car seat in the vehicle, buckle the lap/shoulder belt. Pull on the lap belt portion. If it loosens or slips, you must either use a locking clip to hold the seat belt tight or move the car seat to another seating location. Note: A locking clip will not fix all types of seat belt problems. Please refer to your instruction manual for details.
When should my child be moved to a booster car seat?
If you child is between 30 and 40 pounds and his shoulders are above the upper slots, you should remove the harness and use the seat as a belt-positioning booster. If your child is over 40 pounds, you must remove the harness and use the seat as a belt-positioning booster regardless of the child's height.
Where can I find my model number and manufacturing date and why do I need it to order parts?
The model number and manufacturing date can be found on a sticker on the side of your car seat. It is important to have this information ready when contacting Consumer Relations to ensure that the representatives are able to provide you with accurate information and/or correct parts that have been approved for use with your product. Dorel Juvenile Group manufactures a wide variety of car seats and other juvenile and home products; therefore, providing the model number and manufacturing date is crucial and the representatives will not be able to order parts or give specific information regarding a product unless this information is provided.
Where is the safest location for my infant car seat?
Children in infant car seats should sit in the rear, center seating position of your vehicle.
Why won't my overhead shield buckle?
If the latch plate does not remain locked, check for dropped food, sticky spilled drinks, dirt, leaves, etc. Clean with cotton swab and/or remove object with tweezers. Lock the latch plate into buckle until you hear a "click." Pull up on the crotch strap to make sure the buckle is locked. If you cannot get the harness to adjust and remain tight with the buckle securely locked, do not use the car seat. Contact Consumer Relations at 1-800-544-1108.
Will my vehicle seat belts work with my child's car seat?
Your car seat must only be used in vehicles with appropriate vehicle belts that can be tightened securely. If the vehicle belt cannot be tightened securely, it must be replaced. For additional information regarding the vehicle seat belts that will not work with your child's car seat, please refer to your instruction manual.