Statistics show that auto accidents are the leading cause of death for children aged one to 14. Studies also indicate that in one year 33% of children under 12 killed in car crashes were unrestrained. These numbers underscore the importance of correctly installing and routinely using child car seats. Fortunately, there are excellent guidelines that parents can read online and get tips. Information outlines critical steps such as the installation of car seats and how to inspect them for damage. Safety advice also includes rules for changing car seat types to meet the needs of growing children.

Parents Should Understand How Each Car Seat Works

Caregivers must understand how each car seat model works in order to ensure child safety. Manufacturers provide detailed instructions which explain exactly how each type ought to be used. Although installing a seat and placing a child safely in it may seem self-evident and simple, research shows that between 72 and 84 percent of restraints have indicated dangerous misuses.

Safety Seats Need Routine Inspections

It is equally critical to regularly examine child car seats for problems. It only takes one or two imperfections for seats to fail during accidents. Common problems to check for include broken reinforcements or damaged impact foam. Seats should be inspected to ensure that they do not move more than an inch when tethered. Latches must be checked to ensure that they hold. Any replacement parts should come from the original manufacturer.

It Is Important to Know When to Change Car Seats

The type and position of car seats are also critical to children’s safety. Several manufacturers offer high-quality rear-facing, forward-facing and belt-positioning booster seats designed for kids ranging in age from infancy to ages nine to 11. Each type of safety seat is created to protect passengers at specific stages of growth, so parents should know when it is safe to move from one seat to the next. The CDC has published guidelines that help parents determine which restraint to use. Rules are based on kids’ height and weight. There is also a five-step test that caregivers can use to determine when it is safe for young passengers to use seat belts alone.

Children’s car seats can help prevent many deaths and injuries, but they must be used correctly, free of flaws and the right type for each passenger.