Forty-six percent of car seats are installed wrong or used improperly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Even though parents might have the best intentions and think their children are protected, errors often occur.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death for children, but using a car seat properly can dramatically reduce the risk of death for infants and toddlers.
"I think people underestimate how difficult installing a car seat can be. There are so many different car seats and they a;; have different installation instructions," said Erica Surman, RN, Corewell Health's Beaumont Children's pediatric trauma program manager.
Experts recommend parents choose the right seat, install it in the right location, and ensure it is facing the correct direction. Selecting the correct seat, whether it be a standard safety seat or a booster seat, can be the different between life and death for a child, according to the CDC.
"The biggest mistake parents make is not reading the manual. Everything you need to install the seat correctly is in there. We advise you to read the manual for both the car seat and the vehicle that you will be installing it in," Surman added.
Even if you have had your child's safety seat inspected by a professional, it's important to register your car seat with the manufacturer. Then, if there is a safety issue or recall associated with the seat, you will be notified. Finally, make a note of the car seat's expiration date. That's right, car seats expire after six to ten years, depending upon the manufacturer. Also, many manufacturers advise parents to replace their child safety seat if their vehicle is in a crash.
Upcoming car seat safety checks
Certified child passenger safety technicians perform these complimentary safety checks. Our next car seat safety check is May 17 at George Matick Chevrolet (14001 Telegraph Rd, Redford, Michigan, 48239.)