A proper car seat is important to maintain your child’s safety. Here are 7 car seat safety tips
An analysis by AAA that in the last five years more than 13,000 children under 8 have been injured in vehicle crashes in New York despite strong laws requiring the use of appropriate restraints.
Road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States, and when correctly used, child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71%, according to the nonprofit Safe Kids Worldwide.
Not only is using the proper seat for a child important to maintain their safety, the seat must also be properly installed. Yet according to a national survey, only half of car seats are installed correctly, says AAA.
Below are tips about car seat safety:
1. Common mistakes
According to AAA, the common mistakes are car seats that are too loose when secured in a vehicle. Failure to use the car seat’s tether strap along with lower latches or a seat belt in forward-facing seats. Not tightening harness straps enough when securing the child in the seat. Switching from rear- to forward-facing orientation based on a child's age instead of weight.
2. American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ride in a:
Rear-facing car seat as long as possible (at least until age 2), followed by a forward-facing car seat until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer, followed by a booster seat until they are 57 inches tall. Here are more details about buying the right car seat for your child.
3. Installing your car seat
You’ll need to decide on using either the seat belt or lower anchors to secure your car seat. Both are safe, but don’t use them both at the same time. Once your child is forward facing, it is important to use the tether with the seat belt or lower anchors.
4. Getting the right fit
A properly fitted harness gives the best possible protection for your child.
5. When to change your car seat
Look on the car seat label to make sure your child is still within the weight, height and age limits for that seat. Here are details about when to change your car seat.
6. Expired or unsafe seats
If your car seat has expired or is unsafe, take it apart and put the pieces in separate dark trash bags to prevent someone else from using it.
7. Find an expert to install or check your car seat
If you install your own seat, take time to read the owner manuals for both your vehicle and your car seat. If you need help, there are experts and checkup events that can help. Get help at a car seat inspection station near you, click here for more information. Officers at your local police station may also be able to help.