Car accidents continue to be the leading cause of injuries and fatalities for children in North America. However, current statistics report only one out of four kids is safely buckled into a car seat. Hello! That’s an alarming disconnect. There appears to be more concern over genetically modified apples than over taking simple steps to ensure kids are safe in high-speed metal and glass boxes that crash a lot.
There’s a lot of information out there, so Mohammad Bhorat, child passenger safety educator, certified CPST, and owner of Baby Car Seat Installers, has compiled a list of essential car seat tips based on common, easily avoidable mistakes.
16 Avoidable Car Seat Errors
1. using a car seat inconsistently
2. using an expired car seat
3. using a damaged car seat
4. facing seat forward too early
5. rushing child into booster seat
6. transitioning to seat belt too soon
7. mixing car seats & bulky clothing
8. forgetting to adjust harness straps as child grows
9. thinking loose or twisted straps are safe enough
10. fastening chest clip below chest
11. misuse of lock clip
12. misuse of tether strap
13. holding child in lap in moving car
14. allowing 2 kids to 1 seat belt
15. allowing small children in front w/ active air bags
16. installing car seat incorrectly
And here’s a convenient infographic of the above car seat safety information to pin, print, and share. Put it on your website, fridge, share it with everyone who drives your children. Avoiding these 16 child passenger safety mistakes can save lives!
Car Seat Shaming
A final note on a new phenomenon that’s undermining child passenger safety awareness. It’s called car seat shaming. You know when you learn something new and important — like child safety info — and go to share it with someone else, but they act as if you called CPS on them? That’s not normal. When someone has that reaction, they don’t see car seat safety as important, because if they did, they would react as you did: act to improve their child’s safety and spread the word to help more precious, little passengers.
If a “car seat shaming” parent’s child was drowning, (s)he would want you to act, not mind your own business, right? Just like “drowning shaming” isn’t a real thing, car seat shaming is ridiculous. More children die every year in cars than in water. Regardless of the situation, as parents we should always look out for each other and each other’s children. Period.
Reference: Mohammad Bhorat, certified CPST and child passenger safety educator, www.carseatinstallers.com