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Top Ten Mistakes Parents Make with Child Safety Seats.

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Presentation on theme: "Top Ten Mistakes Parents Make with Child Safety Seats."— Presentation transcript:

1 Top Ten Mistakes Parents Make with Child Safety Seats

2 1.Many parents dont ensure a proper recline angle for infants. Until a child is able to hold his/her head up, recline should be at about 45 degrees from vertical. If the head falls forward, the childs airway can be blocked. As the child grows, the seat may be more upright, to as much as 30 degrees. If more recline is needed, add a rolled-up towel or blanket under the front of the seat.

3 2. Many parents face infants forward before 12 months old and 20 pounds. Infants have weak necks and large heads compared to the rest of their body. The majority of fatality crashes are front- end/head-on and in such a crash the babys head is thrown toward the point of impact. As a result, forward-facing infants are at a far greater risk of fatality/serious injury than are rear- facing infants. Even if the car seat instructions warn against the legs touching the back of the seat, it is important to protect the neck and spinal cord. Keep infants rear-facing until at least 12 months and 20 lbs., preferably longer, for as long as the seat allows.

4 3.Many parents dont use locking clips when required, or misuse the locking clip. Thats the little silver or gold buckle that comes with every car seat. Most people dont know what they are or how to use them, but instructions come with every car seat. Using a locking clip can make a critical difference in a serious crash. They allow for less slack in the seat belt, keeping the child safety seat in position during the pre- crash phase. It should be placed within one inch of the buckle. Not sure if you need to use one? Check your car owners manual and/or the labels on your seat belt.

5 4.Many Parents STILL dont put children in the back seat. Air bags have saved thousands of adult lives, but they are not safe for children. More than 100 children have been killed nationwide by air bags – at least three in Oklahoma. Of those 100, the vast majority were either unrestrained or improperly restrained. Either place all children under age 13 in the back seat, or have a shut-off switch installed if you absolutely MUST transport children in the front seat with a passenger side air bag. Even without air bags, the back seat is 26 percent safer than the front seat.

6 5.Many parents dont put the harness straps in the right slots, dont have them tight, and dont use the retainer clip properly. Harness straps should be at or below shoulder level for rear-facing seats, and in the upper slots for forward-facing convertible seats, unless otherwise specified by the instructions. Straps in forward-facing booster seats should be at or above shoulder level. Harness straps should be snug enough so that only one finger can be placed between the strap and the childs collar bone. The retainer clip (the plastic piece that holds the shoulder straps together) goes at armpit level. Children have been ejected in crashes in which the clip was placed too low.

7 6.Many parents dont buckle the child safety seat into the car, or dont buckle them in tightly enough. When properly secured, a child seat should not move more than one inch from side to side when pulled at the seat belt path with moderate force. It is impossible to eliminate all movement at the top of the seat, especially a rear-facing seat.

8 7.Some parents do not use a child safety seat that is compatible with their specific car. Many are not compatible. Unfortunately, its trial and error. When parents ask What kind of car seat should I buy? the answer is: The one they can return if its not compatible with their car. LATCH was supposed to eliminate incompatibility issues; it has not. And, Latch (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) is not inherently better than using a seat belt. In addition, parents should use either LATCH or the seat belt- not both. The tether strap is required with LATCH; it is optional with a seat belt.

9 8.Most parents dont leave children in the appropriate seat long enough. Far too many young children are being placed in seat belts alone, and seat belts are not made for them. The shoulder belt crosses their neck and the lap belt rides high on the abdomen. Both can have serious consequences in a crash. Children should stay in a harness-type seat until at least 40 lbs., a booster seat until somewhere around 49 tall or about age 8. Oklahoma law now requires children to be in a child safety seat until they turn 6, although this new law still falls short of best practice.

10 9.Many parents are using a recalled or unsafe seat. Manufacturers will replace or repair seats for free that have been recalled, but they have to be able to locate the owner. Fill out the owners registration card when you buy a new child seat. A current recall list can be found on the NHSTA website at or Dont use a seat that was obtained at a garage sale or thrift shop. It may be missing critical parts or may have been involved in a crash. After any crash (except for fender benders), insurance companies should be asked to replace the child seat as well as repair any seat belts that have been damaged.

11 10.Many parents who usually use car seats dont use them every time. Most crashes happen close to home at speeds under 45 miles per hour. Still, some families only buckle up on long trips or on the highway. At least 20 percent of Oklahoma children are still not buckled up at all – dont let yours be one of them!!!

12 For technical assistance or information on obtaining free or discounted child safety seats, contact the Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition, (405) , or by You may also contact the Chickasha Fire Department for proper installation information at


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