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Avoid these 8 common car seat mistakes

Posted on Sep. 18, 2017 ( comments)
CarSeatCheck - outdated image

It’s Child Passenger Safety Week September 17–23, 2017.

If you are in a car accident, you expect your child’s car seat to perform, to do its one and only job and keep your child safe from harm. But installing a car seat correctly is harder than you might think.

How hard is it? A research study at Oregon Health and Science University Hospital showed that parents are struggling. While observing parents adjust and install their car seat for their newborn’s discharge from the hospital, they found that 95 percent of parents made at least one error, with an average of more than 5 errors per car seat.

The most common harness adjustment errors:

  • Harness too loose (69%)
  • Chest clip too low (35%)
  • Wrong shoulder harness slot (31%)
  • Use of after-market product not approved with seat (21%)

The most common installation errors:

  • Seat belt not locked tight (53%)
  • Car seat installed too loosely (44%)
  • Recline angle of car seat incorrect (41%)
  • Using the wrong seat belt path (23%)

Surprisingly, even experienced parents made as many errors as parents bringing home their firstborn.

There is a solution. This study also found that the best predictor of correct car seat use was working with a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST). Families who did so were only one-tenth as likely to make serious errors.

Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children — but correct use of a car seat reduces the risk of death in a crash by up to 80 percent. Are your children riding safely? National Child Passenger Safety Week is a great time to find out. Learn from our car seat experts from the Mary Bridge Center for Childhood Safety at our next car seat inspection event: 

  • Tuesday, Sept. 19
  • 9–10:30am, no appointment needed
  • Safe and Sound Building, 1112 South 5th Street, Tacoma
  • Wednesday, Sept. 20
  • By appointment only
  • Call 253-403-1417 to schedule

There is no cost for the inspection. Our technicians will teach you how to adjust and install your car seat correctly in your car. If you can’t come on the 19th or 20th, view our calendar for other dates and locations — we offer several car seat inspection events each month in Pierce and South King counties.

To ask your questions about car seats or upcoming events, call the Mary Bridge Car Seat Help Line, 253-403-1417.


More information about the Mary Bridge Center for Childhood Safety


Posted in: Kids' Health | News | Tacoma

About The Author

Erin Summa Erin Summa, MPH
Erin Summa is a Health Promotion Coordinator with the Mary Bridge Center for Childhood Safety.
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