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Are You Using Your Child's Car Seat Correctly?

In case you missed it, it's Child Passenger Safety Week, and while we may think we know everything about car seat safety (Rear-facing until at least 2? Check! Car seat chest clip in line with child's armpits? Check!), most likely we don't because three out of four car seats are still being improperly installed. Three out of four!

According to safercar.gov, the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13 is car crashes. Here are some other startling stats from the non-profit organization:

  • 3,661 children were killed in car crashes from 2007–2011 and over 634,000 children were injured.
  • In 2011, of the 655 children killed in car crashes, one-third of them weren't restrained.
  • Car seats reduce the risk of fatalities in cars by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers.

Those aren't small numbers.

AAA has helpfully released a list of the most common mistakes parents make when installing a car seat:

  • Child seat not rightly secured tightly to the seat of the vehicle
  • Harness or straps are to loose and the child is not tightly secured within the car seat
  • Vehicle's seat belt is not in lock mode. Consult vehicle manual for proper locking directions.
  • Using both the seat belt and latch (lower anchors and tether) restraint system
  • Moving a child out of the booster seat too early
  • Turning a child forward-facing too early

To help parents avoid making simple mistakes that could cost children their lives, the National Highway Safety Association is promoting National Seat Check Saturday which takes place September 19 to teach parents how to correctly install and use their car seats, as well as teaching them how to recognize once their child has outgrown their car seat. Find a Certified Child Car Seat Technician through the Safercar website or by downloading the free app. They also recommend parents register their car seats so they can be kept abreast of any recalls.

As they always say, it's better safe than sorry. And with our most precious commodities, can we ever be too careful with car safety?

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Photograph by: Twenty20/EdgarAllen2014

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