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.

Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
Never seat a child in the front row passenger seat, even if using a child safety seat.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
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.

Refer to the following label located on the sun visors.

Informational PurposesAn informational icon, calling your attention
Note
The image shown below is representative only and may not be identical to the label 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 S 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
The Passenger Airbag Off indicator displays on the touchscreen when the passenger front airbag is OFF. When the passenger front airbag is OFF, it does not inflate when a collision occurs. This indicator does not display when the seat is unoccupied.
A child safety seat icon with a circle-backslash symbol and text: Passenger airbag on
To protect an adult occupying the front passenger seat, always double-check the passenger front airbag to confirm that it is ON.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
Always ensure that all Model S 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.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
Do not associate the Easy Entry setting with the driver's profile when a child is seated in a rear seat. 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 S to recognize or accommodate a child seated in the rear seats while using this setting (see Driver Profiles).

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.

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)* 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.

Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
Do not use LATCH anchors with child safety seats or booster seats that have an integral safety belt where the combined weight of the child plus the child safety seat exceeds 65 lbs (29.5 kg).
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
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 S 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.

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.

Informational PurposesAn informational icon, calling your attention
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 S, and fully extend the seat belt. Route and buckle the seat belt in accordance with the child safety seat manufacturer’s instructions.
    A child safety seat buckled into a passenger seat using the vehicle's seat belt.
  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 S seat.
  3. 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.

The ISOFIX icon and arrows showing the location of ISOFIX latches.

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.

Two green check marks on outboard second row seats and a red X on the center seat
To install a LATCH child safety seat, lift the flap (if equipped) to allow access to the anchors.
Correct child safety seat positioning onto ISOFIX anchor bars
Carefully read and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the child restraint system. The instructions describe how to slide the child restraint system onto the seat’s anchor bars until you hear it "click" into place. You may need to push the child restraint system firmly against the seat back to ensure it fits snugly. The flap (if equipped) remains open when the child seat is installed.
A child seat sliding into place with a speech bubble with an exclamation point in it, pointing to the anchor bar

Adjust until the child restraint system is fitted firmly against the seat back. Ensure the child restraint system fits snugly.

A child seat installed in a seat with a hand pulling on the seat belt

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.

Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
Do not use LATCH anchors with child seats or booster seats that have an integrated safety belt where the combined weight of the child plus the child restraint system exceeds 65 lbs (29.5 kg).

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.

Informational PurposesAn informational icon, calling your attention
Note
The location of anchor points may not be readily visible but can be found by identifying a slice in the seat's material.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
Tighten upper tether straps according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the child safety seat.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
USE ONLY SEAT BELT RETAINED CHILD SAFETY SEATS IN THE CENTER SEATING POSITION.

For dual-strap tethers, position the straps as shown.

Three head supports with straps positioned on either side of the head support with an arrow pointing to the anchor hook on the back of the seats
Position single-strap tethers for the outboard seating positions to run on the outside of the head support. Position a single strap in the center seating position to run over the top of the seat as illustrated.
Informational PurposesAn informational icon, calling your attention
Note
To prevent the single-strap tether in the center seating position from moving side to side, the top of the seat deforms.
Three head supports with straps positioned to the side of the head support on the outside and running up and over head support in the middle, with an arrow pointing to the anchor hook on the back of the seats

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 one 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

Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
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 S detects a lightweight passenger, do not rely on technology to protect your child.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
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.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
According to collision statistics, children are safer when properly restrained in the rear seating positions than in the front seating positions.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
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.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
Do not allow a baby or infant to be held on a lap. All children should be restrained in an appropriate child safety seat at all times.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
To ensure children are safely seated, follow all instructions provided in this document and by the manufacturer of the child safety seat.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
Children should ride in a rear facing child safety seat using the seat’s integrated 5-point harness for as long as possible.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
Do not use seat belt extenders on a seat belt that is being used to install a child safety seat or booster seat.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
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.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
Never attach two child safety seats to one anchor point. In a collision, one anchor point may be incapable of securing both seats.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
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.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
Always check harnesses and tether straps for damage and wear.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
Never leave a child unattended, even if the child is secured in a child safety seat.
Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
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.