There may be nothing in the world that angers me more than to find out that someone has their child’s car seat improperly installed or not safely restraining their children before driving. Child safety seats are designed to lessen the risk of injury or death when in an accident, but they must be used and installed properly, or all of the science and research that goes into the production of them is all for naught. Some studies I’ve read suggest that 7 out of every 10 car seats are installed incorrectly.
- If your child is young enough to require a car seat or booster, you want to place them in the back seat of the vehicle. The back seat offers more protection in the event of an accident and could safe the life of your child.
- Read the car seat owner’s manual to determine how to correctly restrain your child.
- If there is any slack or movement in your child’s harness, seat, or buckles, then you have not installed it properly. There should be no slack anywhere.
- Be sure to eliminate any twists in the belts and harnesses to reduce the chance of injury.
- Always wear your seat belt as an example of the behavior that is to be expected when riding in a car.
I recommend reading your owner’s manual from cover to cover before you ever even install the seat in your vehicle. Once you have it installed, visit a car seat safety specialist to double check to make sure you’ve done it correctly. It won’t take any time at all and could mean the difference in life and death.
There are staggering numbers out there when it comes to child safety seats and the number of children saved by them. This is from the NHTSA:
“From 1975 through 2011, NHTSA estimates that approximately 10,000 lives were saved by child restraints for children under the age of 5 in passenger vehicles, with more than 260 lives saved in 2011 alone.” (Read the entire press release)
Making sure your child is properly secured for every trip, no matter how short, is an absolute must. There are no excuses for your child safety. If you would like to read further on this subject, I recommend visiting the safercar.gov website, it is an endless resource for child seat safety.