Child safety seats are critical to keeping your child safe, but they’re not always easy to use. Seventy-three percent of car seats are not used or installed correctly, according to SafeKids Worldwide.
Keep your child safe! Avoid these three common car seat mistakes.
1. The car-seat harness doesn’t fit your child properly. If your child is in a rear-facing seat, the harness shoulder straps should be at or below shoulder level; in a forward-facing seat, the straps should be at or above the shoulders. The chest clip should always be at armpit level. Check the harness for too much slack by pinching the strap at the shoulders. If you can pinch the webbing, tighten the harness until the straps are snug.
2. Failing to use a forward-facing car seat’s tether strap. The strap connects to the vehicle's tether anchor, reducing a child’s head movement in a crash by up to 8 inches. Unfortunately, they’re only used about half the time.
3. Moving your child out of the rear-facing position too soon. Children should remain rear-facing until at least age 2 or until they outgrow the height or weight limit on their rear-facing car seat. Children are five times safer riding in a rear-facing car seat than in a forward-facing car seat. Older children can simply cross their legs or rest them on the back seat cushion to fit comfortably in the rear-facing position.