Parents are making five significant mistakes when using car seats and booster seats, according to a recent survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Maybe that’s because one in five parents don’t read any instructions when installing seats.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is reminding parents and caregivers of the importance of correctly installing and using car seats for children.
Here are the five most common car seat errors:
- Wrong harness slot used - The harness straps used to hold the child in the car seat were positioned either too low or too high;
- Harness chest clip positioned over the abdomen rather than the chest or not used at all;
- Loose car seat installation - The restraint system moved more than two inches side-to-side or front to back; anything more than one inch is too much.
- Loose harness - More than two inches of total slack between the child and the harness strap; there should be no slack.
- Seat belt placement was wrong – Lap belt resting over the stomach and/or shoulder belt on the child's neck or face.
The survey also revealed that although 20 percent of all drivers of child passengers did not read any instructions on how to properly install their child restraints, 90 percent felt 'confident' or 'very confident' that their car seats and booster seats were installed correctly.
"Child safety seats save hundreds of young lives every year, but proper use is vital," said Administrator David Strickland. "That's why we're urging everyone to make sure their kids are properly protected on every trip, every time."
Click here for a Safe Kids downloadable checklist.