It is Child Passenger Safety Week and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a study on the five most common mistakes parents and caregivers make when using child seats and booster seats in cars.
The five most common mistakes are:
- The harness straps used to hold the child in the seat are either too high or too low, instead of over the shoulders.
- The chest clip is positioned over the abdomen or not used at all.
- The child seat itself moves more than two inches in any direction. Anything more than one inch is too much.
- The harness has more than two inches of slack between the child and the harness straps. There should be no slack.
- In booster seats, the seat belt placement is wrong, with either the lap belt resting over the stomach instead of the hips or thighs, or the shoulder belt resting across the child’s neck or face instead of in the middle of the shoulder.
The NHTSA study also found that 20 percent of parents do not read any instructions when installing car seats. The agency, along with Safe Kids USA, are encouraging parents and caregivers to conduct an at-home checkup of their seats using their checklist. For additional assistance, contact your local police or fire departments because many provide free car seat checks year-round.
Be safe out there!