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Most Car Seats Installed Incorrectly

Studies have shown that seven out of ten carseats are installed incorrectly. Most often, seatbelts are not tightly secured or the seat is improperly positioned in the car.

Here are a few tips for installing a car seat safely in your own vehicle:

  • Read the car seat manual and your vehicle owner’s manual before you attempt to install the seat. Remember, not all car seats fit in all vehicles. If it doesn't fit securely, buy another seat.
  • Always put car seats in the back seat.
  • After placing a child in a car seat, check the harness to make it is level with the shoulders. The straps should be are secure and snug.
  • Make sure the chestplate goes over the chest -- not the abdomen.

Wonder when it's time to graduate to the next stage in car seat placement or boosters? Here are a few age-specific guidelines

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants and toddlers up to 2 years should always ride in the rear-facing position.
  • Children ages 2 to 4 years should ride forward facing in a full harness car seat.
  • Children ages 4 and up should ride in a booster seat until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and at least 80 pounds.
  • Children ages 13 and under should always ride in the back seat. If an airbag deploys while a child is in the front seat, it could crush the child.

Still have questions? Call your local police or fire department and request a professional carseat inspection, or call your local public health department to ask about car seat fittings. Or visit www.seatcheck.org to find a safety seat inspection site near you.