How to Install a Car Seat Without Latch System?

As of 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s report, one in four deaths of children due to car crashes happens because of inappropriate seat. Following it, parents would want to install the right seat with accurate safety features for their kids.

Usually, there’re two ways to mount a car seat for children. Firstly using a LATCH system and secondly with a seat belt. Cars built before September 2002 don’t have a latch system. So, for these cars, you must know how to install a car seat without latch system.

Thankfully, installing the car seat without the latch system isn’t highly challenging. You will have to use the seat belt as the safety prerequisite of the car seat when you don’t use the latch system. Once you find the seat belt, you must tighten it through the car seat belt path. It allows kids to fasten the seat belt while in the car and ensures their safety.

Nonetheless, when mounting the car seat without the latch system, you will have to look at the other safety features. Plus, you must choose the right seat for this purpose.

What to Look For When Installing a Car Seat?

When you install a car seat for your kid, you need to be considerate as a parent. You may need to check your kid’s weight to find the right seat at first. Also, it is crucial to choose between the seat belt and latch system for the seats while mounting them.

What to Look For When Installing a Car Seat
What to Look For When Installing a Car Seat?
  • You must never use the latch system, aka lower anchor and seat belt simultaneously for the car seats. Although many parents consider using both the latch and seat belt will ensure better safety for their kids, it isn’t in reality. So, carefully choose between the two options. In our case, we will show you how to mount car seats with the seat belts, not the latches.
  • When you mount a car seat for a kid, the safest place is between the two backseats. Yes, the car seat should be right in the rear-center position of your car. It helps you look at the kids through the interior mirror. Plus, it reduces the impact of shocks significantly.
  • Adjust the car seat in the center as you start by placing it slightly to get the tightest fit. You must remember that the better fit the car seat has, the safer it will be for kids.
  • You will have to pull it all the way for car seat belts. It will be helpful for the seat belt to lock mode to secure the passenger while you drive the car. You may see the car’s user manual if you have trouble locking the car seat with the belt.
  • Finally, consider the snug fitting and position of the seat’s harness and chest strap. The harness strap should fit snuggly with a kid. On the other side, you should mount the chest strip at the armpit level of the kids to help them feel comfortable.

When you start mounting the car seat, you must always remember these key instructions. Mounting the car seat perfectly with the right safety features and comfort will be useful. Plus, getting a car seat that feels comfier for kids is important, especially if you plan for long-distance travel.

Read Also: How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car Seat?

Type of Car Seats Ideal for Kids

When you decide to allow your kids to sit safely in the car, you should install a seat dedicated for them. To do this, you must choose the right car seat or booster with good comfort and safety. Infant and preschoolers’ car seats are meant to cradle them with a nice hugging feel so that they don’t feel insecure when you drive the car.

Type of Car Seats Ideal for Kids

You may pick various types of car seats for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and teens. The ideal options may include the following ones:

  • Convertible car seats are the best options for kids. You can conveniently convert it to a rear-facing or front-facing seat. So, you don’t need to buy another car seat as your child grows older and heavier.
  • There’re options for 3-in-1 car seats too. You can convert it to the rear or front-facing seats. Plus, these seats are usable with a harness or individually as a booster. Thus, it brings multipurpose usability for you.
  • Many cars and MVPs come with built-in seats for kids. These built-in seats are mostly front-facing with quick convertibility. Yes, you may easily convert the seat into a booster seat or 5-point harness. However, car experts doubt the safety prerequisites of these convertible and built-in car seats for kids.

As you see, there’re numerous options for car seats for kids. There’s even a car seat for kids with special needs. Thus, you can quickly choose the right seat depending on your car size, model, and, more importantly, your budget.

Once you have chosen the right car seat for children, it’s time we look at the mounting steps of the seat without the latches.

How to Install a Car Seat Without Latch System?

Many cars built before September 2002 didn’t have an anchor or latch (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) for cars. American federal government has made it mandatory for cars built now to ensure maximum safety of the kids. However, you may still drive your older cars with kids even if you don’t have the latch system.

How to Install a Car Seat without a Latch System

In this case, you will need to use the seat belt to secure the seat with the base of it. You may choose both front and rear-facing seats for the purpose. Nonetheless, our research found that rear-facing seats are safer and preferable for kids. So, we will show you how to mount a rear-facing kids’ seat in your car without the latch system.

Step 1: Separating the carrier

You will find two parts when you look at the new rear-facing car seats for infants. These parts include:

  1. The infant carrier
  2. The base

The base and infant carrier are attached. You need first to separate the base from the infant carrier. It is important because you will mount the car seat’s base in the car. The infant carrier and base separation process will vary depending on the car seat models. Hence, we suggest you look at the seat user manual to successfully detach the carrier and base.

In most cases, you will find a lever or button at the side of the seat. You must press and activate it to disconnect the base and carrier properly.

Step 2: Threading the belt of the car seat through its base

Since we will not use the latch system to secure the car seat, let’s turn our focus toward the seat belt. For cars that don’t have an anchor or latching system, you must carefully inspect the base and carrier of the sear.

There will be a seat belt that will secure the infants’ seat with the backseat. As you inspect the base of the seat, you should find designated openings to push the belt through. Once you pass the belt through the base openings, you can buckle it to secure the seat.

As you mount the seat and secure the belt, it should fit cleanly. To secure it appropriately, you must be careful not to bunch or twist the belt.

  • Read the user manual of the car seat and car. It will help you know quickly where to put the seat belt securely through the base openings.
  • You must read the user manual carefully to secure the seat belt. It is vital since every seat, and belt securing process differs from the other. The installation process will vary largely depending on the type of belt the seat has.
  • You must anchor the seat belt appropriately. Failure to mount the seat belt to secure the infant seat will increase the risk of injuring the kids during collisions.

When you follow these guidelines, you should secure the seat belt properly.

Threading the belt of the car seat through its base

Step 3: Pop up the infant carrier and secure it with the base

Once you have secured the seat belt with the base, it’s time to connect the baser with the infant carrier for better safety. It would help if you placed the infant carrier in such a way so that the seat faces the rear side of your car. You will hear a click when the base and infant carrier fall into the right position. It signifies that the base and the carrier have been placed and mounted successfully.

If you want to detach the carrier from the base, press the button on its side. It will activate the carrier and detach it quickly. Also, you should try moving the base and carrier forcefully to check if the setup is secured or not.

Pop up the infant carrier and secure it with the base

Step 4: Checking and adjusting the base angle

You may adjust the rear seat base for kids at various angles. You must adjust the rear seat’s base to ensure the kid’s best comfort. Usually, the seat needs to be in a more reclined position for infants. It helps them breathe better and comfier.

Checking and adjusting the base angle
  • You should find a level indicator in the infant carrier. Once you read the level indicator instructions, you should quickly know the right angle of the carrier of your kids. The base and carrier alignment will depend on the child’s weight, height, and age.
  • Sometimes the level indicator may not be easily understandable. In this case, you should read the user manual to understand it properly.
  • After reading the manual and level indicator requirement, you may need to adjust the base angle. For this, you need to adjust the reclining of the carrier accordingly.

Tips on Securing Seat Belts for Maximum Safety

When you have mounted the infant car seat without the latch, you must follow the safety features of the seat belts. You should follow certain rules for using the seat belt, lock it properly, and ensure kids’ safety and comfort.

  • Kids and pregnant women must wear seat belts. There’s a misconception that pregnant women and kids don’t need to use seat belts. In fact, seat belts will secure them from shocks during collisions.
  • You must pull the seat belt all the way to fit it appropriately. When you wrap it around your kids, ensure it passes over the shoulder of your kids and fits snuggly. It shouldn’t go under the armpit of the kids as it might injure their soft skin.
  • Even if your car has advanced airbags, you must put seat belts for kids. It secures them better during collisions.

As you follow these guidelines, you should safeguard your kid. For proper engagement of the locking feature of the seat belt, you may follow this YouTube video.

Frequently Asked Questions:

If still, any confusion remains in your mind, check the FAQ section below and get the most answers to your queries.

Can you hook up a car seat without the base?

You don’t require the base to hook up the car seat. You need to thread the seat belt through the grooves of the seat to secure it without the base.

Is LATCH installation safer than a seatbelt?

There are no better safety properties between seatbelt and latch systems. Protecting your kids in the rear seat will depend on the proper seat belt or latch utilization. So, you must use the system appropriately, depending on whichever system you have.

Can you add a LATCH to a booster seat?

It is possible to use a latch even with the booster seat. In this case, the lower anchor of the seat will hold it with the booster. So, it offers better security even if your kid is above 50 pounds.


Installing a new infant car seat without the latch system isn’t rocket science. You must detach the infant carrier from the base and then secure both parts of the seat appropriately. Finally, you have to adjust the reclining position of the carrier to allow kids to breathe comfortably. Plus, it would help if you locked the seat belt appropriately, so it fits snugly.

You may wonder about the protection ability of the latch and seat belts. Technically, both systems offer optimal safety when used correctly. Henceforth, whether you install the seat with a latch or belts shouldn’t be a concerning issue. If you mount the seat correctly, it will protect your kid perfectly.

James Marlow

After graduating in automobile engineering, I started my professional life as an operational in-charge for a renowned car manufacturing company. Besides this job, I love to research and talk about different things I deal with daily. And this site Carseatlover is the result of that. I have created this site to guide people to find the right car seat and help them use the seat correctly. Stay with car seat Lover.

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