Installing your car seat

How to tether a car seat

Tether straps are used to secure a rear facing car seat in the back of a car. The straps wrap around the front seat of the car and then firmly lock the child seat behind them for a really secure stable fit. It is vital that this part of the fitting of the seat is done correctly to prevent the recoil of the child’s seat in a crash.

Tether straps are used predominantly on non-ISOfix car seats. A few non-ISOfix car seats do not have them, but any rear facing seat that can take a child up to 25kgs must have them. All rear facing seats that need to be tethered will have a set of straps supplied with each seat. These straps will loop under the runners or go though another structural part of the car.

Both Britax and Besafe’s tether straps have a buckle on one end this will either loop under the seat frame (1) or push through the gap between the seat cushion and the seat back on the front seat of the vehicle (2). The buckle then pulls upwards and connects to the rear facing seat before pulling tight.

Axkid car seats have a different style of tether straps. The straps still wrap underneath a structural part of the seat (3) or again though the seat cushion (4) but will fasten back through the most appropriate selected slot on the tether strap that ensures the end buckle is now as low down in the footwell as possible. The back of the Axkid car seat will have additional straps which pull down to meet the tether buckle and lock for a secure fit.

Some vehicles such as Saabs and Volvos may already have anchor points fitted for ease of connecting tether straps (5), however the majority of cars do not have such fittings.

Please always refer to manufacturers’ instructions on purchase of any child car seat and if in any doubt call us for help.

Avoiding buckle crunch

When the seat belt is passed through the front of the seat, adjust the straps so that the buckle rests at the side of the seat rather than over the frame of the seat. Fastening the buckle over the frame may cause it to fracture in the event of a crash, releasing the seat and causing injury to the child.

Dealing with under-floor storage

Some car seats have a supporting leg which drops down from the back of the seat which could rest over a storage cavity in the floor. This not only impedes storage access, but is likely to result in the seat being dangerously fitted. Our experience and work with manufacturers means we have a detailed knowledge of the appropriate seats for most vehicles. If your car has under floor storage then please get in touch for advice.

Adjusting the harness correctly

It is vitally important that when fitting a child into a car seat that the harness must always be correctly adjusted. The straps should come over the child’s shoulders and remain untwisted as they fasten into the buckle. The harness should be ideally positioned at shoulder height or just below. It must be tight enough so that only the flat of two fingers can be slid under at chest level.

Best practice is to loosen the straps before you take your child out of the car seat, so the next time you buckle your child in you can pull the straps tight to ensure the correct tension every journey to suit what your child is wearing. Children should preferably wear light, thin layers rather than bulky clothes when travelling. Car seat harnesses are designed to fit close to the body so avoid thick, padded clothing.

Stay inside the guidelines

It is not advisable to place anything under the seat to either improve the fit or alter the angle of the seat unless specifically approved by the car seat manufacturer. To do so may seriously impair the seat's effectiveness in the event of a crash. When fitting a car seat always follow the step-by-step manufacturer’s guidelines and do not make any adjustments which are not approved in the manual.