Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. Many times, deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters and seat belts. On average, two children under 13 were killed per day in 2016 while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups, or vans.
NHTSA and the Ad Council launched a new series of public service ads (PSAs) that urge parents and caregivers to protect their child’s future at every stage of life, by making sure they secure them in the correct car seat for their age, height, and weight.
AAA is reminding caregivers to get their car seats inspected or installed by nationally certified AAA Child Passenger Safety technicians. This service is open to anyone year-round, in Alaska, Arizona, Montana, Nevada, Northern California, Utah and Wyoming.
AAA is conducting inspections at available locations, and educating the public on five most common child safety seat installation mistakes through a series of educational videos. They urge the public to participate in this program given that three out of four child car seats are installed incorrectly.
Proper car seat installation can reduce the risk of motor vehicle injury to children, and it is important for the public to understand five common mistakes:
- Don’t move children out of booster seats too soon. Seat belts are designed to fit adults and improper usage can result in head, neck, or spine injuries. Caregivers should keep children in booster seats until a seat belt fits them properly.
- Ensure the car seats are secured properly. If the seat belt or lower anchor connection is too loose, car seats will not stay put, subjecting a child to greater crash forces. Children’s car seats should not move side-to-side or front-to-back more than one inch when tested at the belt path.
- Properly tighten harness straps. If harnesses are too loose, children will not be properly restrained in the event of a crash. Harness straps should lay flat and not have any twists. Be sure the harness is snug enough that you cannot pinch any extra harness material at a child’s shoulder.
- Place the retainer clip at armpit level. When a retainer clip is too low, a child can come out of the harnesses, or the hard, plastic clip can cause abdominal injuries. Always place the retainer clip at armpit level.
- Don’t turn children forward-facing too soon. When a child rides rear-facing, the head, neck, and spine are all supported by the hard shell of the car seat. Children should remain in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat.
Cars.com released its annual Car Seat Check Honor Roll, which highlights vehicles that earned a perfect score in Cars.com’s Car Seat Checks conducted throughout the year.
“This year we tested 85 vehicles in our Car Seat Checks, and only 9 percent earned perfect scores,” said Cars.com Editor-in-Chief and certified child passenger safety technician Jennifer Newman. “Parents often spend a lot of time determining the right car seat for their children but overlook how that seat will actually fit in their car. That’s why we test and score car seats in many of the most popular vehicles for sale. We want to be the go-to resource for families looking to understand which cars fit which types of car seats the best, and our annual Honor Roll highlights the select few that do it the very best.”
The Car Seat Checks involve hands-on testing of 2018 and 2019 model-year vehicles. In addition to assessing each vehicle’s Latch system and overall ease of use, an infant seat, rear-facing convertible seat, forward-facing convertible seat and booster seat are installed in each vehicle, and scores are compiled on an A-to-F scale.
This year’s Car Seat Honor Roll includes:
- 2018 Genesis G90
- 2018 Hyundai Sonata
- 2019 Jeep Cherokee
- 2019 Lexus ES 350
- 2018 Lincoln Continental
- 2018 Subaru Impreza
- 2018 Toyota Camry:
- 2018 Toyota 4Runner