Can You Use Infant Car Seat Without the Base
Choosing the right car seat is one of the biggest decisions you can make as a parent regarding your child’s safety. Most car seats need to be installed with a base, but if you use taxi services like Uber or Lyft, you may want to consider using a car seat without the base.
So, if you’re wondering whether or not you can use a car seat without the base, yes, you can. A car seat base helps to ensure that the car seat will not move and is situated tightly and safely in your vehicle. Think of the base as an accessory to the seat and not a safety requirement.
Tips on How to Install a Baseless Car Seat
- Choose the right seat suitable for baseless car installations. Car seat buckles are available in two styles that are European and standard belt. For European styles (where the buckle protrudes at an upright angle), simply thread the seat belt through the belt path, typically found on the back or side of the seat. The European style may be more difficult to install in smaller infant car seats with less space for belts.
For standard buckles (where they lay flatter against the seat), you can use either the lower or upper belt path depending on the location and position of your car’s lower anchors. Buckle the seat belt and pull it across the forward-facing car seat as you would normally do. Ensure that your infant car seat is locked into position by pushing down firmly on the base and tightening the vehicle shoulder belt until there is no slack. This will properly secure the car seat. You can still do a baseless car seat install, even a European belt path.
- Practice baseless car seat installation often. It is unlikely that you’ll get it right on the first try, and that is why you need to practice this kind of installation often. You can do it without being under pressure or in a rush. Take your time to see what position works best. You also want to make sure that you practice installing the baseless car seat on both the sides and the back seat. Research shows that the center seat is safer than other seat positions by up to 43%.
The following are baseless car installation mistakes you can easily make:
- Purchasing a used car seat without performing a thorough inspection. Yes, you may think you’re saving a few dollars, but your child’s safety may end up being the ultimate price.
- The second mistake is installing the car seat in the wrong position. As mentioned earlier, the front and the sides of the back seat are not the safest spots you’d want to install the car seat in. Instead, you want to ensure you place the baseless car seat in the center of the back seat. Avoid placing the car seat in the front, especially if you have an active airbag.
- Failing to follow manufacturer’s instructions. Not all car seat models are the same, so what you think you know about one model is different from what you know in another. The seat should be rear-facing and be securely attached to the car’s seats, Whichever model it is.
- Installing the car seat at a poor angle is another common mistake. The right angle is when the seat back of the seat is parallel to the ground. Some car seats come with indicators showing you where the right angle is. This comes in handy if you are new to car seat installs.
- Putting your child at risk of injury by not securing them well in the seat, especially if they can unbuckle themselves unintentionally, is another installation mistake. Make sure to use all provided straps and buckle them properly so that they would hold your child snugly in place. Ensure they are straps that are sturdy and easy to use.
Situations Where You May Need Baseless Install
We’ve already looked at one, which is when commuting in taxis. Another situation is when your personal vehicle has a different profile from what the car seat manufacturer recommends. Instead of compromising your child’s safety, you are better off using a baseless install.
Suppose you are traveling on a plane, or own a car with minimal spacing between the seats. In that case, those are both conditions that warrant the use of a baseless car seat installation.
Before installing a car seat without the base, you need to ensure that the manufacturer allows for such an install. Also, always include seat belts in the style you prefer for your child’s added protection.
With the tips mentioned above, you should have a seamless experience installing a baseless car seat, even your first time. Just ensure you follow all the steps carefully.