Creative Child

Carseat Safety Guidelines

with Allana Pinkerton, Certified Child Passenger Safety Instructor
by Jennifer McLaughlin


Question 6: Which seat is the safest and why; behind the driver seat, the middle seat or behind the passenger seat?

All car seats have to meet the same standards. A safe seat is the one that is installed properly, the one the fits your child properly and the one you will use correctly every ride. Some seats do come with extra safety features that could benefit a child during a crash.

The vehicle’s back seat is the safest place for a car seat. Yes, the middle seems to be better because it does put your child further from an intruding car, but what do you do when you have more than one child?

One study by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia shows there are just about equal crashes on each side of the car. The study also shows kids further from the crash sustained injuries. The best thing to do is to install the seat correctly no matter which side works best for your family. Use the seat properly every ride.

Question 7: Do car seats expire? If so, why? Where do you look for an expiration date?

Yes car seats expire.

Over time materials can corrode, break down and weaken. There are also technological advancements all the time in car seat safety so we want parents to take advantage of it. After all, we are all quick to buy the latest and greatest in cell phones, computers and TVs. It only makes sense to buy the latest and greatest products that protect our children in the most dangerous thing we do every day - driving on the road.

Question 8: What are the Inch Test and The Pinch Test referring to when it comes to car seat installation?

The Inch Test refers to the installation of the car seat. It should move less than one inch side-to-side and front-to-back when checked at the belt path. It’s not necessary to grab the seat at different points because the only place that is usually secured with a seat belt or LATCH strap is at the belt path. This is the true test.

The Pinch Test refers to the harness. As mentioned before, the harness should fit snug and comfortable where you cannot pinch the webbing at the collar bone. Checking at the chest clip or tummy will give you a false sense that harness is not tight and you’ll keep pulling the harness tighter and your child will be very uncomfortable. Also be sure the chest clip is at arm pit level.

Question 9: At what age/weight is it recommended for children to face front in the car seat?

If we look at the statistics from Sweden, you’ll see a huge difference in crash injury and death rates among children. They rarely have any. It’s because children stay rear-facing up to four and five years old. Rear-facing protects the head, neck and spinal cord. These are the most vulnerable areas on an infant and young child’s body and the hardest to repair and heal.

Question 10: What are important safety features that Diono car seats and booster seats have that other brands may not?

Our convertible line is unique in that it is made up of a fully integrated steel frame. Steel is the most robust material for absorbing crash energy. Our seats are also lined on all sides with energy absorbing EPS foam. If you peel back the covers on most car seats, you’ll find comfort foam or just plastic. Very few seats are entirely lined with EPS foam. We even have it under the child’s tailbone.

Our convertibles accommodate a child rear-facing much longer than other seats because of the deep seat pan, higher harness slots and high weight capacities. It also sits low in the vehicle which is convenient, but the lower the child is sitting, the lower the center of gravity which decreases forward movement and reduces G-forces on the child’s body.

Our Monterey booster seat has a reinforced bar around the torso, EPS foam throughout the seat and a more robust seat pan. It’s also one of the most accommodating booster seats for big kids because it expands in height and width to fit them up to 120 lbs. and 63” tall.

For more information and safety tips, visit Diono at!

Jennifer is a former special education teacher and mentor. She obtained her bachelor's degree at Kent State University in Ohio. She enjoys dancing, reading and spending time training her dog, BrunoMars. 

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