(KUTV) Car seats save lives which is why it’s crucial parents use them correctly. We address five common mistakes parents make when it comes to car seats.
(1) Seat not installed tightly
The first mistake many parents make is not installing their child’s car seat tight enough.
“What you want to do is pull the seatbelt all the way out until you hear it lock. It will click and then the ratcheting sound is a signal to you that it is going to install tightly,” says Jessica Strong, Community Outreach Manager at Primary Children’s Hospital.
Continue by threading the seat belt through the belt path until it buckles in. Push down on the base while pulling on the seat belt to make sure it’s snug.
(2) Harness straps too loose or in the wrong location
When you place your child in a rear-facing car seat, make sure the harness straps are at or below the shoulders. When tightening the straps, use the pinch test.
“If you can pinch any of the material, it’s not tight enough,” says Strong.
(3) Chest clip too low
The chest clip should hit just below the child’s armpits.
(4) Not using the correct seat/booster for your child’s size
• Children should be in a rear-facing car seat until they are 2 years old AND 30 pounds. They can then transition to a forward facing seat.
• Keep your child in a harness until they’re at least 4 years old AND 40 pounds. They can then transition to a booster seat.
• Booster seats are designed to lift the child up so the seat belt fits properly across their chest and hips. Children should use a booster seat until they are 8 years old AND 4’9”.
(5) Using after-market products
Whether it’s a toy, a mirror, or something else, after-market products present a risk. These products have not been safety and crash tested. You can use them in your stroller or at home, but do not use them in your car seat.
“If it comes with your car seat you’re safe to use it because it’s been tested, but if it’s something that you buy in a package next to a car seat, don’t use it,” says Strong.
If you have questions or want to make sure your child’s car seat is properly installed, visit Primary Children’s Hospital’s free community checkpoint. It’s available Monday-Friday. For more information, call 801.662.6580.