Car seat safety: Car seat installation made easier with LATCH

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Dr. Jeffrey W. Runge added, "LATCH is an important innovation in child restraint and vehicle design. Used properly, the system is expected to save up to 50 lives a year and prevent close to 3,000 injuries in a crash. This new technology will help us move forward in our quest to further reduce death and injury among our youngest passengers."

According to NHTSA, at least 80 percent of child safety seats are incorrectly installed. LATCH resolves two of the most common safety seat misuses: the safety seat is not tightly fitted into the vehicle seat and the seat belt is not properly locked in place. NHTSA sites the following as some other common mistakes that can cause serious injury or death in the event of a crash:

  • Child safety seat harness straps are too loose
  • The safety seat is facing the wrong direction in the vehicle
  • The child is not the appropriate height, weight and/or age for the safety seat
  • The infant seat is in the path of an air bag
  • Children who should ride in a booster seat are moved prematurely to an adult seat belt system
  • The safety seat has been recalled or has been involved in a crash

The campaign to address both LATCH and the need for seat inspections is part of SEATCHECK, a safety program launched in February by Chrysler Group and supporting partners NHTSA, the National Safety Council (NSC), Graco Children's Products Inc., Lamaze TM International and new partners Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us. The program urges parents to get their child safety seats inspected and directs parents to seat inspection locations nationwide through a toll-free hotline (1-866-SEAT-CHECK or 1-866-732-8243) and a Website.

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