As good at Toyota safety is -- and it's very, very good these days, with every Toyota vehicle now including a version of the standard Toyota Safety Sense safety package -- how safe your child is on the road depends a lot on you. We're not just talking about your driving habits. We're also talking about the installation of your child's safety seat or booster seat.

With dozens of different seat designs on the market, trying to install a safety seat can leave even the best parent confused. That even includes Toyota engineers Jennifer Pelky and Lindsey Babian, both parents, and both researchers at Toyota's Michigan R&D facility.

While having lunch together there one day in 2019, Pelky and Babian were commiserating about how hard it is to properly install a child safety seat, a fact that leaves many parents feeling like their children aren't as protected as they could be. During that conversation, the two engineers realized that if trained engineers were having trouble feeling confident about installing car safety seats, then your average person must really be feeling the pressure.

That day, Babian and Pelky began talking about what they could do to help parents install safety seats correctly. That conversation resulted in Toyota for Families an all-new digital toolkit available online or through the Toyota App.

Currently available for the later-model Toyota Sienna vans, with plans to spread the technology brand-wide in the next few years, users of the Toyota Owners app select their vehicle or enter their Toyota's unique VIN.

That takes users to a screen showing the interior of the vehicle, with options on putting the safety seat in any available passenger location other than the front row. Users then select the type of car seat they want to install, choosing from a booster seat for older children, a front facing seat for toddlers, or a rear-facing seat for infants. If they're unsure which kind of seat installation they should use, the app also allows parents to input their child's age and weight for a suggestion of rear or front facing seat.

Next, the app shows the user a custom video showing the seat of their choice being properly installed in that particular seating location inside their Toyota model, along with written step-by-step instructions. The video will also show additional steps if required for that Toyota model or seating position, such as how to remove the headrest from the seat.


“I designed the parts for securely attaching a car seat myself, yet there is still some confusion about proper car seat installation, which can become a real problem,” Babian said. “When Jen approached me with this, I saw the need for a solution. Now, parents, caregivers and grandparents who find it a challenge will have a tool to help them succeed.”

Here at Steve Landers Toyota of NWA, we're always excited to see what Toyota engineers will come up with next; a constant evolution of every part to make sure it is as good, safe and reliable as it can be. Come share our excitement! Stop in today and check out the next generation of Toyota vehicles, or shop our full selection at our website right now.  

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