In Australia, you are legally allowed to install a child car restraint by yourself. However, it must be installed correctly. Various researches done word wide has shown that about 70% of child car seats are installed and used incorrectly. If you are unsure and it's your first baby, we highly recommend you get it fitted professionally. We at Banana Baby are authorised fitters and have been fitting child car seats for over 10 years and several times a day every day. As we are also a retail store we have regular contacts with the major car seat manufacturers and we are regularly trained on the latest car seats released direct from the manufacturer. Professional car seat fitters are available throughout Australia and varies state to state.

If you are confident, follow user manual instructions and have common sense and feel that you are not that 70% then you are ready to install your child car seat. Different car seats have different ways of installation. Some car seats have ISOFIX, some use the vehicles seat belt and the latest use the vehicles seat belt but with latest fitting methods such as ClickTight and SmartLock. This article will not show you how to fit the car seat as each seat is unique, but we will tell you want you need to do a complete installation.

Step 1: Get the child car seat

If your are using a second hand car seat, please ensure it has not been in any accidents and all parts are included and the harness mechanism works properly. For any used car seats we highly recommend you strip the fabric out and wash it before installation for a new baby. Taking the fabric out for cleaning is relatively easy, however, dressing it up correctly can be quite hard - maybe record and take photo of what the car seat looks like before your strip the fabric out for cleaning.

Buying a new child car seat is the best option for new babies. There are so many option to chose from that will meet every parents needs and budget. A new seat will also be complete, clean, meets latest safety requirements and has a user manual for installation. For newborn babies parents can use a baby capsule, convertible car seat from birth to 4 years or 8 years. For older toddlers where they are forward facing only you can get fully harnessed seats from 6 months to 8 years. There is also a convertible harness booster range that is harnessed to 4 years and then transition to seat belt from 4 years to 7 years. If you child is over 4 years of age, you can just purchase a booster.

Step 2: Read the user manual

Read the manual, not look at youtube! Most videos you find are overseas models and are done by other DIY parents. It will be very hard to find a video that is done by a professional fitter and even if you find it, it may not be your child car seat model.

Step 3: Buy a vehicle car seat protector

A child car seat will be in your vehicle for 7 years - imagine what will happen to your seat fabric or your leather seat in that 7 years. We always recommend customers use a car seat protector when installing a child car seat. Using a bath towel offers very little protection and actually from experience makes installation harder to do.

The Maxi Cosi Seat protector offers good protection, the Infasecure Seat protector is a bit thicker so offers a slightly better protection and finally the Prince Lionheart seat protector is very rigid and has extremely good protector, but it's backing is lower.

Maxi Cosi Deluxe Car Seat Protector

InfaSecure Deluxe Seat Protector

Prince Lionheart 2 Stage Seat Saver - Black

Step 4: Buy are car seat mirror

In Australia, all babies under 6 months must legally be rearward facing. The general recommendation is rearward facing for up to 12 months. Most convertible car seats allow for rearward facing up to 30 months. To entertain your child, a back seat mirror is recommended. There are some really cheap option on the market, but they don't cling onto the back seat headrest correctly and your basically just wasted your money. Ensure you get a mirror that cling onto the back seat headrest and adjustable. The most popular mirrors sold in our store all have vertical and horizontal straps to hold onto the headrest. Below are the Maxi Cosi Back Seat Mirror, Infasecure Round Mirror and Britax Back Seat Mirror.

Maxi Cosi Back Seat Mirror

Infasecure Large Round Mirror

Britax Back Seat Mirror

Step 5: Buy are window shade

Window tinting alone does not give enough protection for a sleeping baby. A window shade makes the space darker and sleeping much better. Over the years car designs have changed so much that the back door window is not longer just round or square. Which means to get a complete shade protection is getting harder to achieve. The Maxi Cosi car shade works on most cars and offers are complete protection from the sun. If this doesn't fit your vehicle then your only option is stretch shades that has suctions onto the window, but they don't cover the window completely.

Maxi Cosi Deluxe Car Sunshade 2pk

Mother's Choice Window Sunshade

Step 6: Car Seat fitting accessories

Most installations do not require additional accessories to complete the fitting. However, if your child car seat does not have ISOFIX, ClickTight or SmartLock then and you are using the seat belt method of installation, you will need to use a locking clip or also called a gated buckle to complete a firm fitting. There are 2 types of locking clips, the black ones with the hump and the flat ones. We recommend any DIY to use the flat ones as the other locking clip requires the seat belt to be over the hump. When removing seats out of customer cars we have seen many times that hump locking clips are used incorrectly with the seat belt under the hump.

Safe n Sound Gated Buckle 3 Bar Slide

Child Restraint (Car Seat) Locking Clip

All child restraint needs to be attached to the anchor behind the seat. If you anchor is located too far away and the tether strap of your child car seat if not long enough, you will need to use an extension to reach the anchor point. Generally a 30cm extension is enough, but for some old wagons or older model utes may need to the 60cm extension.

Infa Secure Adjustable Extension StrapMaxi Cosi 300mm Extension Straps

It's very common when customer want us to installed a second hand baby capsule or their old capsule, they lost the other tether strap. You will need to purchase another top tether strap to complete the fitting.

Maxi Cosi Top Tether Strap

Maxi Cosi Top Tether Strap

Step 7: Practice

Do not wait till baby is born before installing your car seat. You will panic. Ensure you install you child car seat at least 1 or 2 weeks before baby is born. Remember practice using the car seat before putting your newborn baby onto it for the first time. We recommend practice at home using a teddy bear.