Adventures in Car Seat Installation

Today we were the grateful recipients of a “touring system” — essentially a stroller/car seat/baby carrier. The baby carrier can snap into either a car seat base or a stroller base, a maneuver that is supposedly easily executed. As a result of trying to install the car seat base today, I can almost begin to see why Britney Spears made the boneheaded decision to go cruising about with an infant sitting on her lap.

It took nearly an hour of the combined efforts of myself and my Dad to figure out how to simply install the car seat base in the back seat of the car. Granted, I am imbued with perhaps the tiniest capacity for spatial reasoning to be found in humanity, and my Dad probably ranks second from the bottom in that category. Granted also, neither of us are particularly fond of acknowledging the existence of printed instructions. Those handicaps aside, it was still a remarkably complicated and counter-intuitive task.

After about 15 minutes of various attempts at installation that, for one reason or another, just didn’t seem right, we finally caved in and got out the instructions. In one configuration we had before surrendering our manhood to the manual, the car seat base was actually suspended by the seat belt in a sort of floating position, pinioned to the back of the seat rather than its bottom. An outcome like that can only be called a sign of pure engineering genius.

After swallowing our pride and paging through the highly confusing touring system manual that, strangely enough, describes how to secure the baby in the car seat before it gets to the part about installing the car seat in the automobile to begin with, we reached the horrifying realization that the touring system manual was strongly suggesting that we first consult the car’s manual to determine the proper installation configuration. It turns out the car’s manual strongly suggests consulting the car seat’s manual to determine the proper installation configuration.

To make a long story short, after nearly an hour and much wailing and gnashing of teeth, we believed we finally had the car seat base properly installed, and along with it, we had figured out how to properly attach and secure the carrier to the base using the seat belt.

Thankfully, a nearby town’s police department checks whether your car seat is properly installed for free. I’ll definitely be using that service.

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