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Avoid Common Mistakes in Usage of Child Safety Seats

Recent statistics show that three out of four car seats for children are not used correctly to give optimum protection. Protecting children is a high priority for parents, so why are so many child safety seats in cars used incorrectly?

Car seat manufacturers do a poor job of educating and training parents to properly secure their child's seat inside their vehicles. Frankly, they are more interested in selling the seats than they are in seeing that they are used correctly. Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is helping parents to keep their children from being among the thousands of children who are injured or killed each year because they aren't properly secured in their child seat. NHTSA suggests that parents should have their car seats initially installed or inspected at a child safety seat inspection station.

Common problems fall into three groups.

  1. Parents are confused about how to correctly install their child's seat.
  2. Parents do not realize that not all vehicles and child seats are created equally and that not every child's seat fits correctly in every vehicle.
  3. Parents do not realize their vehicle is equipped with a LATCH system or don't understand how to use LATCH.

LATCH stands for lower anchors and tethers for children. The LATCH system has made installing child safety seats easier and safer. LATCH is required on all child safety seats and most vehicles manufactured after September 1, 2002. I urge you to throw away seats manufactured before that date that you may have been given by family members or friends.

LATCH-equipped child seats fasten directly to the seat using lower anchors and a tether anchor. The lower anchor straps are attached to the rear of the child safety seat. An upper tether strap is located at the top rear of convertible seats, forward facing seats, and combination seats.

The rear seat is universally considered the safest place for children of any age to ride. If possible, they should be placed in the rear center seat location which is furthest from all possible collision sites within the vehicle.


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