Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of preventable death for most children. Appropriate car safety is one of the most important things parents can do to keep their children safe.
What parents should know about car seat safety.
- Infants should always be in the back seat of the car, in a rear-facing position. All children should remain rear-facing until they have reached the maximum height or weight capacity of the car seat
- Learn how to install the seat and use the harness before your child’s first ride. Don’t depend on store displays to show you how to do it. If the harness is loose on the child, he/she can easily come out of his seat in a crash.
- The shoulder straps should be in slots that are at or below your baby’s shoulders.
- Ensure that the retainer clip is placed at the center of the chest, level to your child’s armpits.
- Make sure the car seat is installed tightly in the vehicle with either LATCH or a locked seatbelt. If you can move the seat more than an inch side to side or front to back, it’s not tight enough.
- Make sure the seat is at the correct angle so your infant’s head does not flop forward. Check the built-in angle indicators or adjusters.
- Dress your baby in clothes that keep his or her legs free. This will allow you to buckle the latch crotch strap properly between the legs. If it’s cold outside, harness your baby first and then cover him or her with a blanket (never cover your baby’s head). Never buckle a blanket under or behind the baby.
- If your baby slouches to one side in the seat (common among newborns), place rolled-up cloth diapers or rolled hand towels on each side of the shoulders. There are supports specially designed for car seats, but only use them if they came manufactured with your safety seat. Never place any kind of padding or blanket under your baby — this can affect the harness’s ability to restrain your little one.
- Avoid using a second-hand car seat if possible.
Car Seat Safety. Reviewed by:Kate M. Cronan, MD.
Date reviewed: October 2019
Transportation Safety. Page last reviewed: October 30, 2020
Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
Car Seat Safety Check: 9 Most Common Mistakes to Avoid. By Hal Karp and Richard https://www.parents.com/baby/safety/car/car-seat-safety-check-8-common-mistakes-you-must-avoid/