It is Child Passenger Safety Week and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has released a study on the five most common mistakes parents and caregivers make when using child seats and booster seats in cars.
The five most common mistakes are:
- The harness straps used to hold the child in the seat are either too high or too low, instead of over the shoulders.
- The chest clip is positioned over the abdomen or not used at all.
- The child seat itself moves more than two inches in any direction. Anything more than one inch is too much.
- The harness has more than two inches of slack between the child and the harness straps. There should be no slack.
- In booster seats, the seat belt placement is wrong, with either the lap belt resting over the stomach instead of the hips or thighs, or the shoulder belt resting across the child's neck or face instead of in the middle of the shoulder.
The NHTSA study also found that 20 percent of parents do not read any instructions when installing car seats. The agency, along with SafeKids.org, encouraged parents and caregivers to conduct an at-home checkup of their seats, using the checklist at SafeKids.org, or to attend one of the child seat inspections that it is hosting throughout this week in honor of Child Passenger Safety Week.
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.