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Installing Car Seats Properly

Summer vacation is over and the new school year has begun, which means a packed car and lots of trips to and from daycare or school and/or even sporting events. With so much time spent in the car it’s important to make sure your car is safe and I’m not just talking about being an alert driver. According to St. Joseph’s Hospital 4 out of 5 car seats are used improperly resulting in minor and serious injuries. But that’s no reason to beat yourself up- we know these sophisticated and complicated pieces of equipment are tricky and almost require an engineering degree to install. Sometimes it might seem easier to just skip the instruction manual but we are here to help with some safety tips and facts from St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Common mistakes:

  • Picking the wrong seat for your child’s age, height or weight. Check the manual and check your child’s growth before picking a seat. Never ever ever buy a used seat because there’s no way to know if it has been in an accident or if it’s missing parts or expired. According to the CDC, here’s how to tell when to change seat positions:
  • Not properly installing car seats. The most common mistakes are routing seat belts incorrectly, not putting seat belts in lock mode, and not putting enough weight on the seat as it is being installed. These problems can be fixed by reading the instruction manual and having a professional check your work.
  • Facing your child forward too soon. Follow the CDC’s guidelines in the images above to decide when it’s best to face your child forward. Wandering how to find out which car seats are right for your infant or child?
  • Not using the car seat every time. Maybe someone without a car seat offered to take your kids home. Whatever the excuse, it might not be the best decision to let your kids travel without a seat. Why? Because 60 percent of crashes involving children happen within 10 minutes of home, more than three-quarters of them happen when the speed limit is 45 mph or less, and almost all of them happen when the driver is familiar with the route.

It is fairly common for car seats to also become recalled. Click here to see if your car seat is recalled.

Still concerned if your car seat is installed correctly? Visit St. Joseph’s Hospital on September 8 from 9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and receive a car seat inspection. To register for this event or other car seat inspection events visit BayCare’s site. Also make sure to bring the entire safety seat, seat instruction manual, the car owner’s manual and child if possible.

For other articles related to car safety visit: 

Keeping Kids Car Seat Safe 

Car Seat Law Changes

Parents on a Mission for Car Safety

Some of our favorite car seats:

Diono Radian RXT



Girl sitting in fllo installed rear-facing.


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