Expectant parents have many tasks to complete before giving birth, and one of the most important items to check off the list is installing the car seat properly. Many think the seat is safely secured, when inspections show seven in 10 are installed wrong! Since motor vehicle accidents are the number one killer of children in the United States, the consequences of incorrect installation could be deadly.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than half of those deaths and serious injuries could be prevented by placing children in age- and size-appropriate car and booster seats.
“Child safety seats save hundreds of young lives every year, but proper use is vital,” said David Strickland, administrator at the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration (NHSTA). “That’s why we’re urging everyone to make sure their kids are properly protected on every trip, every time.”
Five Common Mistakes to Avoid with Car Seats
There are five common mistakes made by almost every parent with car safety seats. Avoid these miscues and safeguard your children while on the road, knowing that a simple check now will create long-term peace of mind and possibly safe lives.
- Seat too loose. Grab the car seat at its base, near where the safety belt passes through. If you can move it more than one inch to the left, right or forward, it’s too loose.
- Harness too loose. Once the child is in the car seat, pinch the harness at the shoulder with the chest clip properly in place. If you’re unable to pinch any excess webbing, it’s tight enough.
- Infant turned face forward too soon. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, all children should remain rear facing at least until they turn 2 years old or have reached the maximum height or weight capacity of the infant car seat. Inspections show that 30 percent of infants are turned around too soon.
- Rear-facing infant seat not at a 45-degree angle. Many infant car seats have a built-in level that tells you when your seat is at the wrong angle. More often than not, seats are installed in a position that’s too upright.
- Not knowing the age stages. Any child between 40 and 80 pounds and up to 4’9″ tall (generally kids from 4 to 8 years old) needs a booster seat. And children under 13 should never sit in the front seat.
Find out more information on these common mistakes, including dangers associated with these miscues and fast fixes to ensure safety for your little one, in our latest newsletter. If you’d like to subscribe to our email newsletter, you can do so here.
Children are important, and car seats are designed to save young lives. Check yours today! Here’s a great safety checklist you can download and share with your friends.