Car Seat Safety: Are You Part of the 20%?
Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
Sharp-eyed commenters on our Facebook page yesterday pointed out that the stock photo we posted of a child in a car seat showed the harness clip being used improperly. Glancing through the pages of stock photos archived under “child in car seat,” image after image displays children with loose straps, misplaced clips, and incorrect seat usage.
It is probably unsurprising that there are so many images reflecting incorrect usage when you consider the results of a new study released by the Highway Safety Traffic Adminstration. In order to complete the research “the safety agency interviewed more than 4,000 drivers and conducted random inspections at 24 locations nationwide between June and August last year.” The results show that some parents aren’t doing everything they should to ensure car safety for their smallest passengers.
In fact, “20 percent of all drivers of child passengers surveyed admitted that they did not read the instructions for properly installing child seats.” Despite the lack of preparation and planning when installing seats, 90 percent felt “confident” or “very confident” about the safety of their installation.
After conducting both the survey and the inspections, there is concern that over-confidence may mean that parents are using seats incorrectly, but won’t discover their errors. It is always worth double-checking your car seat installation and use periodically, to ensure that you are following manufacturer’s instructions and current safety guidelines.
NHTSA detailed the five-most significant mistakes observed during the study of car and booster seats:
- Wrong harness slot used
- Improper harness retainer/chest clip position
- Loose child restraint system installation
- Loose harness strap
- Improper lap belt placement
As always, if you are unsure about your car seat model and usage, look for a local car seat inspection station. You can look for one here.
Learn more about safety for your family here.