Parents will do anything in their power to keep their kids safe, but sometimes the exact item they purchased to protect their children—a car seat—will end up causing harm. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics showed that 95% of parents tested were not using car seats correctly. Where do parents go wrong? Here are some of the most common car seat mistakes:
1) The child is facing the wrong direction.
Parents used to follow the “1 year or 20 lbs.” rule, meaning a child could ride facing forward once he reached 1 year of age or 20 lbs. However, it is now recommended that parents wait until children are at least two years of age prior to letting them face forward in a car seat.
2) The car seat is too loose.
It’s also common for parents to fail to tightly install a car seat. Luckily, this problem can be easily avoided by performing a simple test to determine if the seat is too loose. Once the safety belt has been pulled through the car seat, try to move the car seat back and forth to see how much wiggle room is available. Car seats should never move more than one inch forward, backward, or to either side.
3) The seat is not placed at the proper angle.
Positioning your rear-facing baby at the right angle in his car seat is imperative for safety purposes. If you do not recline your baby enough, his chin may bump into his chest, which makes it difficult for him to breathe properly. A slight incline also protects your baby’s fragile spinal cord in the event of a car accident. Typically, car seats should be at a 45-degree angle, however some car seats come with different recommendations depending on your baby’s weight. That’s why it’s so important to read the car seat manual to see how to position the car seat.
4) The straps are too loose.
Parents often worry about making their baby uncomfortable with a tightly fitted strap, but they should also worry about putting their baby in harm’s way with straps that are too loose. To test whether a car seat strap is too loose for your child, put your child in the car seat and try to pinch the strap near your baby’s shoulders. If you are able to grab any of the strap between your thumb and forefinger, you need to tighten it so there is no slack.
The next time you travel with your baby, make sure you are not making any of these common car seat mistakes so you can keep your child safe on the road.
If you or your baby has been injured in a car accident, contact Georgia personal injury attorney Frank Harris right away. Frank Harris works tirelessly on behalf of his clients to ensure they receive the compensation—and justice—they deserve. Contact his office today by calling 678-483-8655 or sending an email to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com. You can also visit us online at www.FrankHarrisLaw.com.