So many infants and toddlers are injured or die every year because of car seats that are not installed properly. Knowledge about car seats and how to install them is freely and widely available on the Internet. But how many parents really know what they’re doing when it comes to their children’s car seats?
Recently volunteers at SafetyBeltSafe USA, a national safety organization, held a free safety seat check up in Whittier. They were not surprised to see what many parents did not know, according to an article in the Whittier Daily News.
At this event, organizers saw parents who found out if their booster seats had been recalled or expired. Many, like Angela Pulido whose child’s car seat kept tilting to one side every time she turned her van, were able to get help with how to install the car seat properly. Volunteers also saw that some people had been given incorrect information about how to install the car seat, the article said. Here’s an amazing number from the group’s director Stephanie Tombrello: About 90 percent of parents who come through SafetyBeltSafe’s checkups make at least one error when installing their car seats – some of them potentially fatal.
Among the most common mistakes parents make:
• Loose harnesses
• Infants not riding in rear-facing seats • Infants riding in front of an airbag • Car seats not being firmly attached to the car
If a child is properly restrained in a car seat, the chances of injury during an accident drop by nearly 60 percent, Tombrello told the newspaper.
There is no question that any car seat is better than no car seat at all. But it is important to use what we have properly and effectively so the car seats serve their most important purpose – to protect our precious little ones. No parent wants to see their child hurt. These are clearly errors that are made inadvertently. But they no doubt need to be corrected. Parents would be well-served to pick up a handy guide to installing car seats or a brochure to watch out for common errors.
Here are some pretty comprehensive Web sites on how to install a car seat:
Department of Motor Vehicles