When it comes to mistakes with car seats, what you don’t know you’re doing wrong can be fatal in an accident. Take a moment and read about these 7 common mistakes that the experts cite as the reason for injuries and deaths in car accidents so that you can make sure your child’s car safety seat is installed correctly.
1. Loose safety harness
Check to see if the safety harness is snug enough on your child. If you’re able to pinch the fabric part of the harness straps between your fingers once you’ve already secured and tightened your child into the seat, it is too loose. These should be snug with no slack, ensuring that if you are in a collision, your child will be kept safe.
2. Car seat too loose
According to car seat inspectors, this is the biggest mistake that parents make when installing car seats. To check if your car seat is safe, grab the car seat by the base with both hands, right around the area where the seatbelt passes through it. You shouldn’t be able to move it more and an inch in any direction. Fix it by tightening the seatbelt through the car seat and then lock it. For older model cars (ones manufactured before 1996), you will need a locking clip which should come with your car seat.
3. Incorrect use of retainer clip
This is the clip attached to the safety harness and it should always rest across your child’s breastbone. You should always check the position of it every time you buckle your child into his seat.
4. Infant face-forward too soon
The experts insist that all babies should be in a rear-facing car seat until 2 years of age. Make sure you check your safety seat for the maximum heat and weight limit requirements to be sure your child is in the right position.
5. Not using booster seats
Most children between the ages of 4 and 8 (and between 40 to 80 lbs. and up to 4’9” tall) need to sit on a booster seat in the car. In this way, the seatbelt will fall across their chest in the proper position.
6. Using a seat with a recall
Every year, there are millions of safety seats recalled. Yet, many of them are never repaired or replaced. You can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to find out if your child’s seat has been issued with a recall.
7. Using a used car seat
You might think it’s saved you a lot of money to buy a second-hand car seat, but that could be one deadly bargain if it was ever involved in a car accident or had a recall issued without being repaired.
While you can’t prevent every accident from happening, you can prevent serious injury if you take the time to ensure that the safety seats in your vehicle are being used properly.