A parent wants their children to be safe at all times. One way to protect them is to make sure they are safe when they are in their car seats. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shared that 75% of car seats are installed incorrectly. No percentage is good, but this is a high number and unacceptable. You may not know what you are doing wrong, and that is why we are providing you with correct and safe information. Babble connected with Child Safety Advocate, Allana Pinkerton, and provided critical information.
1. Read the car seat manual.
Just like anything you are trying to fix or build, the car seat manual provides you with the correct information. Allana says, “Be sure to read over the pages with warnings. While some things might be obvious, there is very important information on these pages you don’t want to miss. Check the table of contents for information pertaining to the seat; you might be surprised at other features on the seat!”
2. Read your car’s manual.
Your car also has instructions on the installation of car seats. Allana says, “Your vehicle gives specifics on where you can install a car seat, especially with the lower connectors that come with the car seat and where the top tether strap (comes with seat) can be connected. It also tells you how to lock your seat belt, if you choose this installation option.”
3. Choose a proper side.
A study of fatal crashes in the U.S. between 2000 and 2003 found that sitting in the center of the back seat increases one’s chance of survival by 13%. Another study found that children from 0 to 3 years old sitting in the center of the back seat are 43% safer than those sitting on the side.
4. Decide whether you want to use a seat belt or LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers).
Allana said you should, “Choose one or the other. Using both is not safer and most manufacturers do not allow the installation of both lower connectors and seat belt at the same time. You must follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You want to install the seat the way it has been tested. Don’t be creative!”
5. Follow instructions for seat belt and LATCH installation.
Again, instructions are important.
6. Make sure you car is on even ground.
If your car is not on even ground, it could throw off what you think is straight or not.
7. Check for movements of the car seat.
Movement is not a bad thing. Allana explained that you should, “Check the belt path, where the seat belt or lower connector strap is holding the seat tight. It should move less than 1 inch side to side, back to front. Be sure to attach the top tether strap on a forward facing seat and tighten. *A few rear facing seats have the capability to attach top tether rear facing.”