Our car seat expert, John Stubbs of Safety Belt Safe U.S.A., tackles the task of installing a convertible car seat. This type of seat converts to both rear and front facing positions.
John tells us that any vehicle built in 1996 or later, if a car seat can be installed in a given seating position, there has to be something in that seat belt system that locks. The solution in many vehicles is something called a "switchable retractor." That is when you can move around comfortably in a seat belt during normal use. In the event of a sudden stop, crash or swerve, the seat belt is going to lock up, but when that event is over, it will return to the comfort mode. When the belt is pulled all the way out during seat installation, the switch is triggered.
The five-point test is given to our young helper, Zalie, who represents lots of young toddlers who might gripe a little when getting into their car seat harness. But, as Stubbs reiterates, getting it right trumps crankiness when it comes to our children's safety.