The leading cause of death in children between 1-13 years of age is car accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, child-related crash fatalities can be reduced when proper car seats are used and installed correctly. Although people want to transport children safely, not everyone wants to spend the time to get car seats inspected or learn how to properly install their cars seats. But the truth of the matter is that car seat safety is a critical step in making sure children remain as safe as possible on our roads.

What You Need to Know About Child Car Seats

While finding a car seat and installing it sounds simple, it can be anything but that. There are many factors that play a part in car seat safety, from a child’s height and weight to the different types of car seats. Because children are constantly changing and growing, it is important to know if your child is in the right car seat for his or her height, age, and weight. There are infant car seats, convertible car seats, and booster seats, but they all have different sizing requirements.

Even if you pick out the correct car seat for your child’s age and size, installing it correctly is another piece of the puzzle. Additionally, if you have to move it from one car to another, installation mistakes can occur. Even though these car seats can be moved between cars, it can be challenging because all vehicles have different recommendations and equipment. For example, harness, LATCH, tethers, and seat belts can all be used to secure car seats, but every car seat and vehicle will have its own set-up that can be slightly different, causing much confusion.

In light of Child Passenger Safety Week from September 13-19, 2015, we encourage all drivers who transport children to learn about proper car seat installation and to have their car seats inspected during National Seat Check Saturday on September 19, 2015. Even if you think you have a child’s car seat installed correctly, you can never be too sure that an installation mistake hasn’t occurred. In fact, all drivers can make mistakes with car seats including:

  • Parents. When parents buy car seats and install them, they often fail to get them checked to ensure correct installation. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), even parents don’t always use car seats properly. However, parents are more likely to install car seats correctly in vehicles with the LATCH system, which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children.
  • Grandparents. Children may go for rides in their grandparents’ vehicles. Grandparents may be using older seats which aren’t as safe and they may be taking the seat out of the car frequently, allowing for installation errors and endangering their grandchildren.
  • Caregivers. When children are watched by babysitters and nannies, they could be transported by their caregivers. Unfortunately, babysitters and nannies often fail to install car seats appropriately or fail to tighten the car seat fully, according to IIHS. Parents should insist that regular caregivers have seats properly and permanently installed.
  • Other adult drivers. Kids may ride with their friends’ parents or other adults to reach their destinations. It is likely that car seats will have to be moved between cars and this can be frustrating and time consuming. Unfortunately, people don’t always build in enough time to install a car seat correctly.

Because the safety of our children is of upmost importance, please share this message with those you know and love to help increase child passenger safety. You can do this by clicking on one of the social networking icons to the left of the screen and sharing this article with your friends and family.