Child Safety Seats
Guidelines for Seating Children
Your Model S seat belts are designed for adults and larger children. You must restrain infants and small children in the rear seats only, and you must use a suitable child safety seat appropriate for the child’s age, weight, and size.
Refer to the following label located on the sun visors.
Model S 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 rear 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 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). For more information, go to www.nhtsa.gov/ChildSafety/Guidance.
|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)*||Forward facing or seat belt retained booster seat****|
|Seat position||Rear facing only*||Rear facing as long as possible, then forward facing*||Forward facing|
|Recommended attachment method||If combined weight of child and safety seat is up to 65 lbs (29 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 kg), attach using the seat belt only.***||If combined weight of child and safety seat is up to 65 lbs (29 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 kg), attach using the seat belt and upper tether strap.***||Attach booster seats 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.
** LATCH ("Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children") and ISOFIX are international standards for attachment points for child safety seats in passenger cars that enable compliant child safety seats to be quickly and safely secured. The system has other regional names including 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.
****Keep your child in a forward facing child safety seat with a harness and tether until the child reaches the child safety seat's maximum allowable height or weight as specified by the manufacturer of the child safety seat.
Seating Larger Children
If a child is too large to fit into a child safety seat, but too small to safely fit into 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. All passenger seating positions in Model S support the use of seat belt retained child safety seats.
- LATCH retained - these seats attach to anchor bars built into the vehicle’s rear seats. The rear outboard seating positions in Model S support the use of LATCH retained child safety seats.
Check the child safety seat manufacturer’s instructions and the table in this manual 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) feature that, by fully extracting 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 with integrated restraints, 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 S, 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 S seat.
- Attach the upper tether strap(s), as required by the manufacturer of the child restraint system (see Attaching Upper Tether Straps).
Installing ISOFIX (LATCH) Child Seats
Lower LATCH anchors are provided in the rear 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 rear seats, install LATCH child safety seats in the outboard seating positions only. Use only a seat belt retained seat in the center position.
Adjust until the child restraint system is fitted firmly against the seat back. Ensure the child restraint system fits snugly.
Before seating a child, ensure that the child restraint system is securely installed. Grasp the front of the child restraint system with one hand on each side, and attempt to:
- Twist the child restraint system from side to side.
- Pull the child restraint system away from the seat.
If the child restraint system moves away from the seat, both latches are not fully engaged onto the seat's anchor bars. You must reinstall it and try again. It is critical that both latches on the child restraint system are fully engaged.
Attaching Upper Tether Straps
If an upper tether strap is provided, attach its hook to the anchor point located on the back of the rear seats.
For dual-strap tethers, position the straps as shown.
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 one 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.