Self-Installing Infant Car Seat Eliminates Guesswork for Parents

CARS.COM — A self-installing child-safety seat may sound like a dream to a lot of parents, but one company is making it a reality. The 4moms self-installing infant seat takes the guesswork out of car-seat installation with an auto-leveling car-seat base that also automatically tightens the base's Latch straps.

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Four out five car seats are installed improperly, said Rob Daley, 4moms CEO and co-founder. "We've built a robot in the base of the car seat so that it installs itself, is never installed incorrectly and every time you put a child into the seat it verifies the installation."

The 4mom self-installing infant seat fits babies from 4 to 30 pounds and up to 32 inches long. The car seat monitors the infant's growth, and the app alerts the parents when the baby has outgrown the car seat, Daley said.

On display at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Daley gave Cars.com a demo of the 4moms car seat.

The car seat's self-installing process starts off with a smartphone app. The smartphone is placed on the floor of the car to determine if the car seat is installed at the correct level. Parents also can scan the car's vehicle identification number barcode to retrieve model info, allowing the app to identify the best location for the car seat and the location of the lower Latch anchors. The app then guides the user to connect the car seat's Latch connectors to the anchors.

After Latch connection, a button is pushed on the base that confirms the car seat is attached. Daley says a "screw mechanism" automatically levels the base. Then a robotic motor adjusts Latch straps to the correct tension using power from eight D-cell batteries. When the level is correct, a verification message appears on a screen on the car seat's base.

With the base installed, the infant carrier can be attached to it. The app monitors the base via Bluetooth and notifies the parent if it needs to be adjusted.

The car seat has been certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and passed its proposed standard for side-impact crash protection. It has a five-point harness, an eight-position adjustable headrest, a canopy and a two-year warranty.

"We're solving a real problem and giving parents peace of mind," Daley said.

The 4moms self-installing car seat will be available at buybuy Baby, select specialty stores, Amazon.com and at 4moms.com in June 2016 with a retail price of $499.99.