Child Safety Seats
Guidelines for Seating Children
Your Model 3 seat belts are designed for adults and larger children. You must restrain infants and small children in the second row seats only, and you must use a suitable child safety seat appropriate for the child’s age, weight, and size.
Refer to the label located on the sun visors.
Model 3 has an occupancy sensor in the front passenger seat that controls the status of the passenger front airbag (see Airbags).
Choosing a Child Safety Seat
All children age 12 and under should ride in the second and third row seats. Always use a child safety seat suitable for a young child’s age and weight. The following table is based on child safety seat recommendations determined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States (for more information, go to www.nhtsa.gov/ChildSafety/Guidance).
|Birth to 1 year*
|Over 1 year*
|4 years and older, and less than 57 in. (145 cm) tall
|Up to at least 20 lbs (9 kg)**
|Over 20 lbs (9 kg) (minimum) and up to 40 lbs (18 kg)*
|Over 40 lbs (18 kg)
|Type of child safety seat
|Rear facing (or convertible)
|Forward facing (or convertible)*
|Seat belt retained booster seat
|Rear facing only*
|Recommended attachment method
|If combined weight of child and safety seat is up to 65 lbs (29.5 kg), attach using either LATCH** (lower anchor only) or the seat belt only.*** If combined weight of child and safety seat is over 65 lbs (29.5 kg), attach using the seat belt only.***
|If combined weight of child and safety seat is up to 65 lbs (29.5 kg), attach using either LATCH** (both lower anchors and top tether anchor), or the seat belt and upper tether strap.*** If combined weight of child and safety seat is over 65 lbs (29.5 kg), attach using the seat belt and upper tether strap.***
|Secure the booster seat using lower LATCH anchors (if available) and then restrain the child with the seat belt. If the booster seat is not equipped with LATCH anchors, then secure the booster seat with the child using the seat belt. However, if the combined weight of the child and booster seat exceeds 65 lbs (29.5 kg), secure the booster seat with the child using the seat belt only.
* Many child safety seats currently available allow children to ride rear-facing using the child safety seat’s integrated 5-point harness for a longer period of time BASED UPON SPECIFIC HEIGHT AND WEIGHT LIMITS. Keep your child in a rear facing seat for as long as possible. CHECK THE CHILD SAFETY SEAT MANUFACTURER’S INSTRUCTIONS AND CAREFULLY FOLLOW ALL INSTRUCTIONS.
** ISOFIX is the international standard for attachment points for child safety seats in passenger cars. The system has other regional names including LATCH ("Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children") in the United States and LUAS ("Lower Universal Anchorage System") or Canfix in Canada. It has also been called the "Universal Child Safety Seat System" or UCSSS.
*** Subject to instructions provided by the child safety seat manufacturer.
Seating Larger Children
If a child is too large to fit into a child safety seat, but too small to safely use the standard seat belts, use a booster seat appropriate for the child’s age and size. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions to secure the booster seat.
Installing Child Safety Seats
There are two general methods used to install child safety seats:
- Seat belt retained - these seats are secured using the vehicle’s seat belts.
- LATCH retained - these seats attach to anchor bars built into the vehicle’s rear seats.
Check the child safety seat manufacturer’s instructions and the table provided in this document to determine which installation method to use. Some child safety seats can be installed using either method. Always follow the child safety seat manufacturer’s instructions.
Installing Seat Belt Retained Child Seats
First, make sure that the child safety seat is appropriate for the weight, height, and age of the child.
Avoid dressing the child in bulky clothing and do not place any objects between the child and the restraint system.
Adjust harnesses for every child, every trip.
To securely hold child safety seats, all passenger seating positions are equipped with an automatic locking retractor (ALR) that, by pulling the seat belt beyond the length needed for a typical adult occupant, locks the belt into place until the seat belt is unbuckled and the webbing is fully retracted. The ALR mechanism operates as a ratchet, winding in slack and preventing the seat belt from extending any further until it has been completely rewound. When installing a child safety seat, engage the belt's automatic locking retractor by pulling the seat belt webbing until it is fully extended. The ALR system engages only when the seat belt is at its maximum extension point.
The automatic locking retractor (ALR) feature is not used for booster seats in which a large child is restrained by the vehicle's seat belts directly, and therefore not using a child safety seat's integrated restraints.
Always follow the detailed instructions provided by the child safety seat manufacturer. General guidelines are provided below.
- Place the child safety seat in Model 3, and fully extend the seat belt. Route and buckle the seat belt in accordance with the child safety seat manufacturer’s instructions.
- Allow the seat belt to retract, and remove all slack in the seat belt while firmly pushing the child safety seat into the Model 3 seat.
- Once all slack has been removed, forcefully pull the seat belt webbing to confirm that the automatic locking retractor (ALR) is engaged.NoteThe ALR disengages only after unbuckling and fully retracting the seat belt webbing. Once disengaged, the belt must be fully extended to re-engage the locking mechanism.
- If the seat belt retained child safety seat has an upper tether, attach it to the back of the seat (see Attaching Upper Tether Straps).
Installing LATCH (ISOFIX) Child Seats
Lower LATCH anchors are provided in the second row outboard seats. The anchors are located between the seat's back rest and rear cushion. The exact location of each anchor is identified by a child safety seat identification button, illustrated below. The button is located on the seat back, directly above its associated anchor.
In the second row, install LATCH child safety seats in the outboard seating positions only. Use only a seat belt retained seat in the center position.
To install a LATCH child safety seat, slide the safety seat latches onto the anchor bars until they click into place. Carefully read and follow the instructions provided by the child safety seat manufacturer.
Once installed, test the security of the installation before seating a child. Attempt to twist the child safety seat from side to side and try to pull it away from the seat, then check to ensure the anchors remain securely in place.
Attaching Upper Tether Straps
If an upper tether strap is provided, attach its hook to the anchor point located on the shelf behind the rear seats.
To access an anchor point, press down on the back of its cover.
For dual-strap tethers, position a strap on each side of the head support.
For single-strap tethers at the outboard seating positions, route the strap over the outside-facing side of the head support (same side of the head support as the seat belt retraction mechanism).
Testing a Child Safety Seat
Before seating a child, always make sure the child safety seat is not loose:
- Hold the child safety seat by the belt path and try to slide the safety seat from side to side and front to back.
- If the seat moves more than 1 inch (2.5 cm), it is too loose. Tighten the belt or reconnect the LATCH retained child safety seat.
- If you are unable to reduce slack, try a different seat location or try another child safety seat.