When it comes to car seat safety, minor mistakes can put children at risk without parents even realizing it.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children. Fortunately, there is something parents can do. Start by picking the right car seat, and make sure to install and use it properly. This can reduce the risk of injury by over 71%.
To help ensure your child or grandchild is safe in the event of a crash, AAA Minneapolis urges you to read the information below on child car seat safety.
Are You Using the Appropriate Car Seat?
· REAR-FACING SEATS should be used from birth until age 2, or until your child reaches the upper weight limit of their rear-facing convertible seat (usually around 35 pounds).
· FORWARD-FACING SEATS should be used once your child reaches the upper weight or height limit of their rear-facing convertible seat. It is safest to keep your child in a forward-facing seat with a harness until they reach the maximum weight limit (usually around 40-65 pounds) or height restriction of their seat.
· BELT-POSITIONING BOOSTER SEATS should be used once a child outgrows the upper weight or height limit of their forward-facing seat with a harness. Children should use belt-positioning booster seats until they are at least 4’9” and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
· LAP & SHOULDER BELTS should be used once the belt fits properly. And all children under age 13 should ride in the back seat!
Install the Safety Seat Correctly
“While strides have been made to make car seats easier to use, the overwhelming majority of car seats are still not installed properly,” cautioned Jennifer Huebner-Davidson, manager, Traffic Safety Advocacy.
Proper installation of a car seat provides children with the best protection in the event of a crash. Consulting an expert can be critical to ensuring that children are secured in the safest manner possible.
Experts are available to help you with your car seat installation. Visit www.seatcheck.org, call 866-SEATCHECK (866-732-8243), or visit the website below to find a CPS Technician near you.
Top Car Seat Mistakes
AAA urges parents to guard against the following mistakes:
1) Moving your child out of a booster seat too soon.
2) Not installing the car seat tightly enough.
3) Leaving the harness straps too loose.
4) Positioning the retainer clip (or chest clip) too low.
5) Turning your child forward facing too soon.
6) Allowing a child under the age of 13 to ride in the front seat.
7) Forgetting the top tether.
8) Adding additional padding, toys or mirrors to your child’s car seat.
9) Installing a car seat using LATCH in the center rear seat of a vehicle (when not permitted by the manufacturer).
10) Transporting unsecured, heavy items, including pets, in the vehicle.
11) Installing a car seat using both LATCH AND a seat belt.
12) Children wearing bulky coats/sweaters while buckled into a car seat.
For more information on common car seat mistakes, consequences and recommendations, please visit www.safeseats4kids.aaa.com.
How important is your child’s safety?