Parents, these are the top 7 car seat mistakes

Did you know that in some countries, car accidents are among the leading causes of death for 2 to 5-year-old children? However, car seats can reduce the risk of deadly injury in a crash by up to 82 percent when installed correctly. Unfortunately, a US Study found that 95% of car seats are installed incorrectly.

Thankfully, if you know the mistakes parents make when using a car seat, you can effectively avoid being a statistic and be on the safe side.

The US National Child Restraint Use study revealed that 59% of car seats were installed incorrectly, and this was top on their list. The most common mistake was loose installation followed by using the wrong seat in the wrong car. A slightly loose seat that moves forward, backward or sideways is a significant indicator that something is wrong.

However, before installing a car seat or even buying it, you should do your research to find the most compatible seat for your car. Once you get it, read the car seat manual and your car’s safety manual to ensure it is installed correctly.

Loose straps were second on the list of misusing a car seat. While you don’t want to tighten the life out of your child, leaving some space makes them vulnerable to being yanked out of the car seat in case of impact. Fortunately, there is a test to check whether the straps are tight enough;

  • Place your fingers on the harness where your child’s collarbone is
  • Try to pinch the strap and see if you can manage to get some material between your fingers
  • If you manage to get a good pinch, your straps are not tight enough.
  • If you can’t put a finger between your baby and the strap, it might be too tight.

Now that the colder weather has arrived, your child will probably be bundled up in a warm jacket or bulky jersey. Remember to take off your child’s jacket before strapping them in because if the jacket is bulky, it might seem as if the straps are tight enough. Rather take off thick outer clothes and cover your child with a blanket once they’re strapped in.

Rear-facing seats recline at a 45-degree angle so the child can slant comfortably. If the car seat is upright, especially for infants, a slight impact could cause neck injury to the child’s head or neck. Good quality car seats have an indicator showing where the 45-degree incline angle is.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a whopping 64% of forward-facing seats aren’t attached using the top tether. Most parents overlook this important feature and assume that all other harnesses are good enough. However, the top tether significantly reduces the seat's forward motion and the risk of head injury in an accident or even abrupt brakes. The top tether could also reduce the effects of other car seat mistakes such as loose installation and harnessing.

Car seats are expensive and a used car seat might sometimes be the only option. However, try not to buy a car seat that is more than six years old because car seats expire after six years from the date of manufacture and start degrading over time.

A small child’s neck and spine are very fragile, and in the case of a collision, rear facing seats provide more protection for a child’s body. Most people move their child to a front facing car seat at around nine moths old or 9kg, but it’s best to wait until your child is around 13kg.

The same applies with moving from a car seat to a booster seat – be careful not to make the transition too quickly. Keep your child in a car seat until they are at least 18kg and/or four years old.

Keep your family safe while travelling in your car by ensuring the vehicle is in proper working condition. Regular vehicle maintenance and car service play a crucial role in ensuring your vehicle is in tip-top shape all the time, so you can drive with confidence. With a Service Plan through MotorHappy, you can easily manage your budget while saving up for all the expenses that come along with a new baby. A major advantage of a Service Plan through MotorHappy is that it comes with free roadside assistance – you can rest assured that should you experience car troubles, you will get help quickly and efficiently.

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