Is Your Child’s Car Seat Installed Incorrectly?
Is Your Child’s Car Seat Installed Incorrectly?

If your child’s car seat is installed incorrectly, you are not alone. Unfortunately, four out of five car seats are used incorrectly, according to the National Safe Kids Campaign. Incorrectly installing your child’s car seat can put them at greater risk of injury and death in the event of an accident. Consider that in 2001, nearly 500 children under age 5 died in car accidents, and more than 200 of them were riding in car seats. The importance of correctly installing car seats cannot be overstated.

Here are 3 common mistakes made when using car seats and how to correct them:

  1. Problem: Installing the seat too loosely. This is the No. 1 mistake parents make when installing their children’s car seats. To test your car seat for tightness, hold onto the seat with both hands at the base of the seat and try to move it. If the seat can move more than one inch left or right, it is too loose.
    Solution: Place your knee on the seat and put all your weight into it. Then tighten the seat belt or LATCH belt. Retest it to make sure it does not move more than one inch.
  2. Problem: Harness is too loose on the child. If a child’s harness is too loose, he could come out of his seat during a crash. In the worst case, he could even be ejected from the vehicle. If you can still pinch the harness straps’ fabric between your fingers after buckling in your child, the harness is too loose.
    Solution: Tighten the harness until the straps are snug and there is no slack.
  3. Problem: Installing the infant seat at the wrong angle. Parents should install rear-facing seats at a 45-degree angle. Infants have narrow airways. Thus, a rear-facing seat that is too upright could allow a baby’s heavy head to fall forward and cut off their airway.
    Solution: Most newer car seats have a built-in level that tells you if the seat is at the correct angle. However, if you are using a seat that does not have one, you can check the angle by creating a triangle with a folded-over piece of paper. Place the longest side against the back of the car seat where your infant’s back would rest. If the uppermost edge of the triangle is basically parallel to the ground, the angle is right. If not, you’ll need to either adjust it with the seat’s adjustable pedestal, or prop the car seat up manually. Cut-up swimming pool noodles or tightly rolled-up towels placed under the area of the car seat where the baby’s feet rest can create an easy fix.

Additional Car Seat Tips

Parents and caretakers should also be aware that children should remain rear-facing in their car seats until they are 2, or have reached the height and weight capacity of the car seat. Unfortunately, 30% of infants are turned around too soon. This puts them at greater risk of harm in the event of a crash. Likewise, children who outgrow their car seats should continue to ride in a booster seat until the age of 8. Furthermore, children under age 13 should always sit in the back seat.

“We cannot protect our children from every danger. However, one thing that is in a parent’s control is their child’s car seat. Make the effort to correctly install your child’s car seat so that they are protected in case of an accident,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.

Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in auto accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today at (760) 777-7777 for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, and Yucca Valley and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.

DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

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