Car Seat Mistakes Even Smart Parents Make

Yes, your kids are buckled in, but is your car seat safe enough to protect your child in an accident? Here's how you can be sure that it is (12 Photos)

Dana Sullivan Kilroy on Sep 9, 2011 at 5:25PM

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11 Car Seat Mistakes Even Smart Parents Make

Ned Frisk/Blend Images/Getty Images

a Dana Sullivan Kilroy on Sep 8, 2011 at 11:04AM

Of course you buckle your child into his car seat before you pull out of your driveway, but are you sure that your car seat is installed correctly? Nearly three out of four car seats in use today aren’t, according to Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit educational organization based in Washington, D.C. That raises the risk that your child could be seriously injured in an accident. In fact, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14. Read on to learn the 12 most common car seat mistakes -- and how to fix them.

Mistake #1: Buying a Seat That Doesn't Fit Properly in Your Car
Some seats fit better in certain cars than others. But the only way you'll know which seat is best for your car is by installing several different models(use the store sample) until you find one that fits properly. How will you know? “You should be able to tighten the seat so that it can’t move more than one inch from side to side or front to back,” says Lorrie Walker, M.S., technical advisor and training manager for Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit educational organization based in Washington, D.C.

Once you've chosen your seat, try to have a certified technician inspect the seat and give you tips on how to improve the installation. Many fire departments and hospitals have certified technicians and offer this service for free. Visit www.nhtsa.gov, to find out when and where the next car-seat safety check will be held in your area.

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