Having just installed a car seat in my wife's car, I feel that I am now a qualified expert on car seat safety, or as I like to say, a Car Seatologist. Here are some helpful hints on how to get your own car seat installed.
1. Buy, borrow, lease or steal a car.
2. Obtain a car seat and matching car seat base, then place the car seat base into the rear middle seat.
3. If using the car's seat belts to secure the base, loop the seat belt through the base and connect the seat belt's connectors together. If using the latches that come with the base, connect them to the hooks that are located behind and underneath the seat cushions (if your car has them).
4. Pull on the seat belt / latch strap (hereby known as "the strap") to tighten the base much as possible.
5. Wiggle the base to see if it moves more than an inch to either side. At this point it will probably move about 5 inches.
6. Mutter under your breath.
7. Pull on the strap to tighten the base again. At this point your wife may be calling you a sissy for not getting it tight enough the first time. Just focus your rage and anger towards the strap and continue pulling. You will not break the strap, sissy boy.
8. Wiggle the base to see if it moves more than an inch to either side. At this point it will probably move about 3 inches.
9. Curse loudly. Avoid eye contact with your wife.
10. Sit on top of the car seat base. You will not break it. Sitting on it will apply pressure to it and move it further down the seat cushion, which will help you tighten the strap and make the base more secure.
11. While sitting on the base, pull on the strap to tighten the base. Keep pulling until you run out of air from straining so hard. Remember, this is for your kid's safety, so don't stop until you completely run out of breath. Be a man, dammit!
12. Take a deep breath. Slowly count to ten.
13. Wiggle the base to see if it moves more than an inch to either side. At this point it will probably move about 2 inches.
14. Take a brief walk around the car, letting off some of your anger. If you see any of your neighbors, DO NOT ATTACK THEM. It is not their fault that your car seat is not tight enough to please your wife yet. Remember, patience is a virtue.
15. Continue circling the car, then ambush the car seat base when it least expects it by bumrushing it and jumping on top of it. While it is confused and unsteady, loop the strap around your hand a few times then yank on it as hard as possible. Take pride in knowing that all those years of yanking have finally paid off in terms of your child's safety.
16. Wiggle the base to see if it moves more than an inch to either side. At this point it should move about 1 inch. If it moves more than that, kneel on the car seat and jump up and down on top of it, pulling the strap tighter every time you land.
17. If you've successfully tightened your car seat base so that it only wiggles about an inch to each side, congratulations! You can now brag to your wife about how manly you are.
18. Place the car seat into the car seat base.
19. Visit a free car seat inspection station. You can find these at http://www.nhtsa.gov/.
20. Create a baby and put baby in car seat. (Optional)
21. Check the car seat every time you use it to make sure that it is secure.
Remember, if you screw up with your baby's car seat and put your child's life in danger, your wife will never forgive you, nor will she ever give you another chance to create another baby. Keep that in mind when installing your car seat, and good luck.