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.

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Warning
Never seat a child on a seat with an ACTIVE AIRBAG in front of it. DEATH or SERIOUS INJURY to the child can occur. See Airbags.
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Warning
Do not associate the Easy Entry setting with the driver's profile when a child is seated in the second row. Doing so can cause the driver's seat to push against the child, especially when a child is seated in a forward-facing child seat or booster seat. Do not rely on Model 3 to recognize or accommodate a child seated in the second row while using this setting (see Driver Profiles).

Refer to the label located on the sun visors.

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Note
The image shown below is representative only and may not be identical to the label(s) in your vehicle.
Airbag warning label located on the sun visor that depicts a child seated in the second row and a passenger with a deployed air bag seated in the first row

Model 3 has an occupancy sensor in the front passenger seat that controls the status of the passenger front airbag (see Airbags).

Airbag and passenger symbols with text: Passenger airbag off
When driving with a child seat on the front passenger seat, always double-check the status of the passenger front airbag to confirm that it is OFF.
A child safety seat icon with a circle-backslash symbol and text: Passenger airbag on
To protect an adult subsequently occupying the front passenger seat, check to verify that the passenger front airbag is ON.
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Warning
It is the driver's responsibility to confirm that the passenger front airbag is OFF when a child is seated in the front passenger seat. If the passenger front airbag fails to disable with a child seat in position, place the child and child restraint system in the rear seat and use the mobile app to schedule service immediately.
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Warning
Always ensure that all Model 3 seats are locked in position before traveling. Failure to do so increases the risk of injury. Pay attention to all warnings displayed on the touchscreen.

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).

Category Infants Toddlers Young children
Age Birth to 1 year* Over 1 year* 4 years and older, and less than 57 in. (145 cm) tall
Weight 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
Seat position Rear facing only* Forward facing* Forward facing
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.

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Warning
Laws that govern how and where children should be carried when traveling in a vehicle are subject to change. It is the driver’s responsibility to keep up to date on, and comply with, all current regulations in the region(s) where Model 3 is driven. To check the child passenger safety laws for states in the U.S., go to: http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/childsafety_laws.html.
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Warning
Do not use LATCH/Isofix/i-Size anchors with child restraint system or booster seats that have an integral safety belt where the combined weight of the child plus the child restraint system exceeds 65 lbs (29.5 kg).

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.

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Warning
Larger children in booster seats should wear the seat belt like an adult. Do not extend the seat belt webbing fully to engage the automatic locking retractor (ALR).

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.

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Note
An automatic locking retractor disengages only when the seat belt is unbuckled and fully retracted. The belt can then be worn as a normal belt, sliding freely in and out and locking tight only in an emergency. Once disengaged, the belt must be fully extended to re-engage the locking mechanism whenever you install a child safety seat.

Always follow the detailed instructions provided by the child safety seat manufacturer. General guidelines are provided below.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Once all slack has been removed, forcefully pull the seat belt webbing to confirm that the automatic locking retractor (ALR) is engaged.
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    Note
    The 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.
    A child safety seat buckled into a passenger seat using the vehicle's seat belt.
  4. 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.

Icon and arrows showing the location of child seat latches.

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.

Two green check marks on outboard second row seats and a red X on the center seat

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.

Correct child safety seat positioning onto ISOFIX anchor bars

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.

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Note
Lower LATCH anchors should not be used with child seats or booster seats that have an integrated safety belt in situations where the combined weight of the child plus the child restraint is more than 65 lbs (29.5 kg). In these situations, use the safety belt instead.

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.

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Tighten upper tether straps according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the child safety seat.
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USE ONLY SEAT BELT RETAINED CHILD SAFETY SEATS IN THE CENTER SEATING POSITION.

To access an anchor point, press down on the back of its cover.

1)Anchor point cover 2) Anchor point cover being pushed 3) Tether strap hooking into anchor

For dual-strap tethers, position a strap on each side of the head support.

Straps positioned on either 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).

Strap running over outside of head support
For a single strap tether in the rear center seating position, route the strap over the top center of the head support.
Strap running up and over the middle of the center seat
For dual strap tether in the rear center seating position, route the straps around each side of the head support.
Straps running up on both sides of the center seat

Testing a Child Safety Seat

Before seating a child, always make sure the child safety seat is not loose:

  1. Hold the child safety seat by the belt path and try to slide the safety seat from side to side and front to back.
  2. 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.
  3. If you are unable to reduce slack, try a different seat location or try another child safety seat.

Child Safety Seat Warnings

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Warning
Extreme hazard! Do not seat a child on the front passenger seat even if you are using a child safety seat. This seat has an airbag in front of it. Although this airbag is disabled when Model 3 detects a lightweight passenger, do not rely on technology to protect your child.
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Warning
Child restraint systems are designed to be secured in vehicle seats by lap belts or the lap belt portion of a lap-shoulder belt. Children could be endangered in a crash if their child restraints are not properly secured in the vehicle.
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According to collision statistics, children are safer when properly restrained in the rear seating positions than in the front seating positions.
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Do not use a forward facing child safety seat until your child weighs over 20 lbs (9 kg) and can sit independently. Up to the age of two, a child's spine and neck are not sufficiently developed to avoid injury in a frontal impact.
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Do not allow a baby or infant to be held on an adult's lap. All children should be restrained in an appropriate child safety seat at all times.
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To ensure children are safely seated, follow all instructions provided in this document and by the manufacturer of the child safety seat.
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Children should ride in a rear facing child safety seat using the seat’s integrated 5-point harness for as long as possible.
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Do not use seat belt extenders on a seat belt that is being used to install a child safety seat or booster seat.
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When seating larger children, make sure the child's head is supported and the child’s seat belt is properly adjusted and fastened. The shoulder portion of the belt must be away from the face and neck, and the lap portion must not be over the stomach.
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Never attach two child safety seats to one anchor point. In a collision, one anchor point may be incapable of securing both seats.
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Child restraint anchors are designed to withstand only those loads imposed by correctly fitted child restraints. Under no circumstances are they to be used for adult seat belts, harnesses, or for attaching other items or equipment to the vehicle.
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Always check harnesses and tether straps for damage and wear.
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Never leave a child unattended, even if the child is secured in a child safety seat.
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Never use a child safety seat that has been involved in a collision. Have the seat inspected or replaced as described in the child safety seat manufacturer’s instructions.