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Jul 8, 2015

5 Common Car Seat Safety Issues

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Mistakes can be costly, so it is rather unfortunate that statistics claim that four out of every five safety seats are not used the right way. It is even more unfortunate that many children sustain serious injuries or death every year due to car crashes, yet close to 50 percent of those kids are in car seats.

Car Seat Safety Issues

Every time you get behind the wheel, it is important to ensure that your young occupants are safe in their seats. Common car seat safety issues that you should be aware of include:

  1. Infant facing forward too soon
  2. It is recommended that infants under the age of 2 years use a rear-facing car seat, until they reach the standard weight of 10 kg (22 pounds). The child should not be placed in a forward-facing position until they exceed the maximum weight and height of the rear-facing weight. This is because they are not physically developed enough to withstand the impact of a collision.

  3. Loose harness straps
  4. The harness is what holds your child securely in their seat. Unlike a regular car seat belt, the harness does not retract/tighten in a collision. So, it must be snug before you set off, in order to prevent the seat from moving about.

  5. Harness straps in the wrong position
  6. When rear-facing, the harness slots should be positioned at or below the infant’s shoulders. Conversely, when forward-facing, the harness slots should be positioned at or above the baby’s shoulders.

  7. Chest clip in the wrong spot
  8. The chest clip should always be positioned at the armpit level, not tummy level. The chest clip is intended to keep the straps in the correct position. If it is not at the armpit level, the straps can come off the infant’s shoulders in the event of a crash, ejecting your child from the seat. Also, if the clip is left to fall to the soft infant’s belly, it can cause injury.

  9. Car seat installed with both latch and seat belt
  10. It is important to note that car seats should only be installed with either a latch or seat belt, not both. When you use both, the seat will be subjected to the double impact of two restraints, which can cause the seat to fail. Using both also reduces the ability of the straps to stretch, transferring more force to the infant. To avoid confusion, the latch is only approved up to a weight of 48 pounds. Beyond that, a seat belt should be used.

If you are not certain that you have a proper fit with your car seat, ask for help to avoid risking your child’s safety.

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