How to Avoid Car Seat Installation Errors – 5 Expert Tips
The number of improperly installed car seats in vehicles around the world is staggering. Take a look at some of the conclusions:
- In the United States, 95% of infant car seats have at least one major installation mistake , according to the Journal of Pediatrics.
- In Australia, more than 70 percent of child car seats are improperly installed, according to surveys by Australian researchers.
- In the UK, almost two-thirds of children travel in car seats that are not properly installed or are not age-appropriate, explains What What? study.
The news is getting worse. Mistakes made during the installation of the car seat increase the risk that a child will be seriously injured when the vehicle is moving, and even less in the event of an accident.
There is good news, however. Most improper car seat installations are easily repairable. But first, you must recognize the mistake .
Common car seat installation errors
Mistakes can easily occur when installing a car seat, even if you read the manual carefully as you go. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), some common mistakes are:
- The car seat is not installed correctly in the rear seat.
- The car seat straps are twisted.
- The tilt angle of the car seat is not correct.
- The car seat harness is too loose.
- The lower anchors are attached too loosely or are used improperly, for example on the central seat of the vehicle.
- The position of the car seat harness retaining clip is too low.
- The wrong beam location is used.
- The seat belt retractor is not locked in car seats that use seat belts.
- The car seat is not tight enough.
- The baby is not correctly positioned in the car seat, whether it is an infant car seat, a convertible car seat or an all-in car seat -a.
How To Correct Car Seat Installation Errors
When you consider that the life of a young child is at stake, it is huge to properly install a car seat. It only takes a small mistake to expose your baby to serious injury.
When installing a car seat, your best bet is to follow the car seat instruction manual when performing each step and follow the advice of safety experts.
In particular, NHTSA car seat safety specialists emphasize these five important installation tips:
Tip number 1: check the car seat
Once you’ve installed the car seat in the back seat of your vehicle, take a minute to test it to make sure it’s not too loose. A loose car seat can float when the vehicle is in motion and your child could be seriously injured in the head and face.
In addition, if an accident occurs, your little one will bear the brunt of the crash forces instead of the car or car seat.
5 Steps to check car seats simply and quickly
- Grasp the base of the car seat where your vehicle seat belts cross it with both hands.
- With a firm touch, try to move the car seat forward and back, then from left to right.
- If the car seat is moving in a direction greater than an inch, you need to tighten it.
- Tighten the seat by placing your knee on the seat and pulling the seat belt as tight as possible.
- Lock the seat belt in place. For older vehicles without a seat belt lock, use a lock clip.
Tip number 2: Check the harness
It is a simple pinch test. Once your child is in the car seat, pinch the fabric of the harness straps between your fingers. If you can pinch any additional material, the harness is too loose, which puts your child at risk of falling out of the seat.
Continue to tighten the harness until there is no slack in the straps and you cannot pinch any additional material.
Tip number 3: Check the angle of the car seat
If your rear-facing car seat has a built-in indicator, be sure to use it when adjusting the seat angle. If no indicator is built in, you should make sure that the angle of your infant car seat is between 30 and 45 degrees, according to the car seat manufacturer’s directions.
Here’s how to check the angle to make sure your baby’s airways aren’t restricted while in the car seat:
- Fold a piece of paper into a triangle.
- Place the longest edge of the triangle against the back of the car seat.
- If the edge is parallel to the ground, the angle is correct.
- If the edge is tilted too far forward or too far back, adjust the angle of the car seat accordingly.
Tip number 4: use the right locations
Behind the car seats are harness slots to keep the harness secure to your child in the event of a collision. The harness straps are threaded through these slots.
To ensure that the harness straps pass through the correct slots, follow the car seat manufacturer’s manual carefully, especially if you have a convertible car seat or an all-in-one car seat. With these types of seats, the slots where you place the harness differ from those facing rear to front.
Tip number 5: Attach the clip
Car seats have a harness clip, also known as a chest clip. This clip holds the harness straps together and ensures that they stay in place so your child is not ejected in a collision. In addition, the clips keep your baby from sagging, which could cause strangulation.
When your child is in the car seat, the retaining clip should be at armpit level and rest on your child’s sternum. In this position, the suspenders will stay on your child’s shoulders in their place and will offer protection in the event of an accident by distributing the collision forces over the strongest areas of your child’s upper body.
A foolproof way for a properly installed car seat
The best way to ensure a smooth installation of the car seat is to trust the professionals. Most communities have free car seat inspection services. Often they are located in your local police or fire department. These security experts will verify your installation or help you with the installation.
As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.”
However, choosing a car that suits your child’s age, size, vehicle type …. always makes it difficult for parents. We always have suggestions for you about best convertible car seat for small cars if you’re excited