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Common Car Seat Mistakes

susan_harr5 years ago

Choosing a car seat is an important step in preparing for the arrival of a new baby. An estimated 8,959 lives were saved by child restraints from 1975 to 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). But once the car seat has been purchased, it’s up to the parents to make sure it is used correctly. The NHTSA estimates that 3 out of 4 car seats are not used properly. By avoiding common car seat mistakes, parents can make sure their child stays safe and secure on the road. Information below provided by

Common Mistakes Parents Make

  • Placing a baby in the front seat.
    The force generated by a deployed front airbag can severely injure or kill a child. Additionally, the center of the rear seat is the safest place in the car. A study conducted at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia found that kids seated in the middle rear seat were 43% less likely to be injured in a crash than those who rode in the side seats.
  • Turning the seat too early.
    Children should ride rear facing until they have reached the maximum rear-facing limit of the seat (1 year or 30 to 35 pounds).
  • Using the wrong anchors.
    The LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system allows parents to attach the seat to metal rings in some cars' rear seats without using the seat belt. But not all cars have anchors in the middle. To install your car seat in the center, make sure you're not using the anchors for a window seat by mistake. If yours doesn't have center anchors, use the seat belt instead.
  • Adding padding.
    Covering infants/toddlers in large jackets and thick blankets or installing padding that is not designed for the seat can hinder the ability of the straps to fit properly.
  • Skipping the tether.
    55% of parents make this dangerous mistake, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The tether secures the top of the car seat so it's installed tightly enough.
  • Positioning the harness straps too high.
    If the baby is rear-facing, the straps should be adjusted so they're threaded through the slots at or below shoulder level.
  • Not getting a tight-enough fit.
    The seat shouldn't be able to move more than an inch from side to side. You should adjust the harness straps so that you can't pinch a fold in the fabric.

Are You Using your Car Seat Properly?

Even parents with the best intentions can make common car seat mistakes. Did you know that certified technicians will inspect your child safety seat and show you how to correctly install and use it? The NHTSA offers an extensive listing of child safety seat inspection stations available to the public.

Contact An Experienced Child Injury Attorney

At Thomas J. Henry, we have the experience and resources to handle your child’s case. If your child has been the victim of a serious injury, contact our offices. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends.


If you’ve been injured, we can help. Contact us