How do I install a child safety seat?
First, you want to make sure you've bought the right car seat for your child. To do that, you can use the AAP's guidelines or check out information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Because car seats can be pricey, some parents look for used alternatives at thrift stores, or they get one from a friend whose child has outgrown the seat. Usually, the second-hand approach is not a good idea because the seat is likely missing installation instructions and it could be missing important pieces of hardware. Furthermore, once plastic gets old, it becomes brittle and can easily break. If you do decide to purchase or borrow a used seat, make sure it's less than five years old, comes with instructions, and is not missing any parts. Most car seats have either the date of manufacture or the expiration date stamped right on it.
Once you have the right seat, read and follow the manufacturer's installation instructions. (Yes, it comes down to that!) If you need help, plenty of folks are standing by. Check out this video from Howcast or this information from the DMV. Dads, you can even find out how to install a car seat the manly man's way with this helpful guide from The Art of Manliness.