Term List

3-in-1 Car Seat

A 3-in-1 car seat is used rear-facing and forward-facing with the 5-point harness, and then later converted to a booster seat when the harness is removed and replaced with the vehicle lap and shoulder seat belt to secure the child, not the seat.

3-in-1 Car Seat

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Adjustable Foot

Part of a detachable base or car seat that can be raised or lowered to allow a rear-facing car seat to be installed at the correct recline angle.

Source: SaferCar.gov

Adjustable Foot

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Aftermarket (Non-Regulated) Products

As the name implies, there are no federal standards for these products. Some examples are infant head positioning pads, shoulder belt positioning pads and shoulder belt positioning devices. Only accessories that have been tested and approved by the manufacturer of your car seat are acceptable.

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Airbag Warning Label

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires all car seats that can be used in the rear-facing position to have a warning label about the dangers of using the car seat on a vehicle seat with a frontal airbag.

Airbag Warning Label

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Angle Indicator

Seats that can be used rear-facing provide a way to identify the manufacturer’s recommended angle for proper use. The recline angle enables a young child under two years of age to keep an open airway. Angle indicators can look like a straight line for visual inspection, a color indicator or a bubble level.

Angle Indicator

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Backless Booster Seat

A regulated car seat without a harness that raises the child so the required adult lap and shoulder seat belt fits over the child correctly. Backless booster seats often come with a detachable shoulder belt guide. Please use it!

Here is an example of a backless booster seat:

Backless Booster Seat

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Booster Seat or Belt-Positioning Booster Seat (BPB)

A regulated car seat without a harness that raises the child so the required adult lap and shoulder seat belt fits over the child correctly. This is not recommended for use until children outgrow car seats with a harness. All booster seats must be used with lap and shoulder belts. Booster seats may have high backs, removable high backs or be backless.

Booster Seat

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Buckle

The mechanism of the vehicle seat belt or car seat that is used to fasten the seat belt or harness straps. The latchplate fits (clicks) into the buckle.

Buckle

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Car Bed

Car beds are designed for babies who must travel lying down. The use of a car bed should be reserved for babies who demonstrate a medical necessity.

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Car Seat

A regulated product that enables a child who is too small and/or immature safely to use the adult seat belt system in a moving vehicle. There are three main styles: rear-facing, forward-facing and booster seat.

Car Seat

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Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST)

A person who successfully completes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) standardized child passenger safety certification program. Technicians have been trained to help families learn to properly install any car seat, in any car, with any child. Learn more about becoming a tech, click here.

CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY TECH -JE

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Chest Clip

A clasp that holds the shoulder straps together over the child’s chest at armpit level.

Also known as retainer clip.

Chest Clip

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Children with Special Transportation Needs

Children whose physical or behavioral conditions require a specially designed car seat because a regular car seat does not meet the child’s needs.

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Coalition

Coalition

Safe Kids coalitions are organizations that work to prevent injury and death to children in a certain area. They host safety events, educational workshops, advocate for laws around child safety and more. There are more than 400 coalitions across the United States. Find one near you.

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Combination Car Seat

A type of forward-facing only car seat that is used with an internal 5-point harness system to secure a child over age 2. It is later converted to a belt positioning booster seat when the harness is outgrown and removed. The child is restrained in the booster seat using the required adult lap and shoulder seat belt.

Combination Car Seat

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Convertible Car Seat

A car seat that converts from a rear-facing seat for infants and smaller children up to at least age 2, to a forward-facing car seat that is used until the 5-point harness is outgrown by height or weight. It can often be used for several more years. If used with lower attachments and LATCH, check weights for when attachments are discontinued and replaced with the seat belt. Uses a top tether when forward-facing.

Convertible Car Seat

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Detachable Base

A detachable base for a child restraint system is installed and remains in the vehicle. It is generally used with rear-facing only seats but may be available on other car seats. The car seat carrier part of the system is easily removed from the base, and can be placed in a stroller. This system allows a sleeping child to be undisturbed when moved from the vehicle.

Detachable Base

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Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards

These are the government standards that direct manufacturers as they make and test car seats. All car seats (with a harness) and booster seats (using the adult seat belt to secure the child) must perform to that standard before they can be sold in the USA.

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Forward-Facing-Only Car Seat

A car seat that is intended for use only in the forward-facing position for a child that has outgrown his/her rear facing seat. This car seat is always installed with a top tether if used with a harness.

Forward-Facing-Only Car Seat

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Harness

Straps that keep the child in the car seat in case of a crash. A 5-point harness that secures the child at both shoulders, both hips and buckles at the crotch is preferred.

Harness

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Harness Adjuster

A device on the car seat used to tighten and loosen the internal harness. It can be found on the back of the seat, on the harness itself or with a push button between the child’s legs/feet.

Harness Adjuster

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Harness Chest Clip or Retainer Clip

A clasp that holds the shoulder straps together over the child’s chest at armpit level. Also known as a harness retainer clip.

Harness Chest Clip

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Harness Slots

Slots in the car seat through which shoulder straps of the harness are routed. Look for a car seat with multiple harness slots to assure a good fit for your child.

Harness Slots

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Harness Straps (Webbing)

A system of straps that keep the child within the car seat, distributes crash force, and helps protect the child in a crash.
Harness Straps

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High Back Booster Seat

A regulated car seat without a harness that raises the child so the required adult lap and shoulder seat belt fits over the child correctly. This is not recommended for use until children outgrow car seats with a harness. All booster seats must be used with lap and shoulder belts. Booster seats may have permanent high backs, have removable high backs, be combination seats with the harness removed or be backless.

Here is an example of a high back booster seat:

HIGH BACK BOOSTER right fit-solaris-JE

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Inch Test

A test to determine if the car seat is installed securely.

Once your car seat is installed, try to move it at the belt path. A properly installed seat will not move more than one inch from side-to-side or from front-to-back.

Inch Test

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Infant-Only Safety Seat

A car seat designed for use only by a young child in a semi-reclined rear-facing position.

Also referred to as rear-facing-only car seat.

Infant-Only Safety Seat

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Inspection Stations and Events

Opportunities for the public to have their car seats checked by certified child passenger safety technicians. Inspection stations are generally housed in one location and have fixed hours and days of service. They often require an appointment. Events are often held outside of stores, in parking lots of police stations, at General Motors dealerships, hospitals and at community activity days. Certified technicians are often volunteers who assist people in their communities as a public service.

Inspection Station

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LATCH

LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. This alternate three-part system enables you to securely fasten your car seat to the vehicle without using a seat belt. There are two lower attachments on the car seat that clip or hook onto two anchors found at the seat crack (or bight) in the car. There is a tether anchor in the car that accepts a tether hook found on the back of the car seat. LATCH and seat belt are each safe but are not used at the same time. LATCH is not available in every seating position and you must look in your vehicle manual to learn where they are located. You cannot “borrow” anchors from an outboard position to use in the middle seat if your vehicle does not offer it in that position.

LATCH

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Labels

There are many labels on car seats that provide important information for using your car seat properly. These labels are required by the government. They are located on the seat and indicate the following: 1) NHTSA certification of conformation to all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS213); 2) Weight and height guidelines for the specific seat; 3) Basic outline of the installation procedures; 4) Manufacturing data, including date of manufacture, the manufacture’s name and address, and model number; 5) Air bag warning; 6) FAA certification for use in an aircraft; 7) Weight limits for when lower anchors must be discontinued and replaced with the vehicle seat belt. This is just some of the information found on labels.

Labels

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Latchplate

The part of the belt fastening mechanism that is inserted into the buckle. This may also be the part that adjusts the lap portion length of the adult seat belt webbing.

Latchplate

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Lock-Off

A built-in belt-locking feature on some car seats that work with certain types of seat belts in a similar fashion as locking clips.

Lock-Off

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Locking Clip

A flat H-shaped metal item intended to clip the lap and shoulder seat belt webbing together at a free-sliding latchplate in order to create a fixed length of webbing and prevent it from slipping loose. A locking clip or lock-off comes on every car seat. These clips should not be necessary on cars made after 1996 as seat belts are required to lock a car seat without the clip. Locking clips are rarely needed today.

Locking Clip

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Lower Anchor Attachments

A piece of belt webbing that has a hook or connector on each side of the car seat. They attach the car seat to the two lower LATCH anchorages in the vehicle. These attachments are used in place of the vehicle seat belt to secure the car seat to the vehicle. A top tether is also used as part of this three-part system. Lower anchorages have specific weight limits so lower attachments must be removed when the car seat manufacturer directs on the label. The car seat is then secured using the vehicle seat belt and top tether.

Lower Anchor Attachments

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Pinch Test

A test to determine if the car seat harness is snug enough on the child. With the harness buckled and tightened and chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the harness strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any access webbing, you’re good to go. The straps should not be so tight as to make marks on the child.

Pinch Test

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Rear-Facing-Only Car Seat


A car seat designed for use only by a young child in a semi-reclined rear-facing position.

Also referred to as infant-only car seat.

REAR FACING ONLY litemax-JE

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Recalls

Voluntary or required actions taken to notify consumers of a defect and provide a way to correct problems or deficiencies once a car seat has been distributed or sold. Manufacturers must offer free repairs or replacement for products recalled for violations of safety standards.

Recalls

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Recline Adjustor

A part of the car seat that allows a rear-facing only or convertible car seat to be semi-reclined or upright depending on the child’s needs and manufacturer’s instructions, specific to the direction the car seat faces in the vehicle.

Recline Adjuster

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Registration Card

A postage-paid return card that comes with every new child seat. The card should be returned to the manufacturer so owners can be notified of any recalls or safety issues with the car seat. Owners who have a car seat that was never registered can go online to contact their manufacturer with make, model number and date of manufacture (found on the seat’s label) to register it at any time.

Registration Card

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Retractor

You cannot see this device, but it rolls up the extra webbing of the vehicle seat belt.

Retractor

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Seat Belt

The webbing, retractor, buckle, and latch plate system that restrains the occupant or car seat in the vehicle. Also known as the adult seat belt.

Seat Belt

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Seat Belt Fit Test

A test to determine whether or not your child is ready to move from the booster seat to the properly fitted adult seat belt in the vehicle. To pass the seat belt fit test:

  1. The child’s knees should bend at the edge of the seat when his or her back and bottom are against the vehicle seat back; and
  2. The vehicle lap belt should fit snugly across the hips or upper thighs; and
  3. The shoulder belt should fit across the shoulder and chest. It should not cross the face or neck. The child’s feet should touch the floor for comfort and stability.

If all three conditions are not met, the child should remain in a booster seat and be retested periodically.

Seat Belt Fit Test

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Seat Belt Path

The place that the manufacturer has designed for the seat belt to pass around or through the car seat. Some car seats have multiple belt paths. For example, convertible car seats have one belt path for rear-facing use and a second one for forward-facing use.

Seat Belt Path

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Top Tether

A piece of belt webbing with a hook found on the back of the car seat at the top. When attached to the tether anchor, it helps keep the car seat from tipping forward in a crash and can provide an extra margin of protection.

Top Tether

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Top Tether Anchor

A bracket or anchorage in the vehicle used to accept the car seat tether hook and strap. The tether anchor can be found on the package shelf, on the floor, in the ceiling, on the back of a captain’s chair or bench seat in a van or SUV–almost anywhere. Look for this symbol of an anchor in the vehicle to identify the tether ”anchor.”

TETHER-JE

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