Proper usage of car seats for young children is important for your child’s safety. However, we have noticed that a shocking 59% of car seats are misused. This car seat misuse poses dangerous threats to your child’s safety. Center for Disease Control
In car crashes, incorrectly used car seats do nothing to protect your child and may even increase the chances of your child being seriously injured. This article will teach you the various types of car seat misuse and the dangers they pose.
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What are the Examples of Car Seat Misuse?
Car seat misuse refers to the car seat’s wrong installation to the vehicle or improper restraining of your child in a car seat. When any of these instances occur, the protection the car seat offers your child in the event of an accident is greatly reduced.
There is a bucket load of examples showing how your car seat may be misused. Some of them are listed below.
- The wrong kind of car seat – there are many car seats in the market, but the right one for your child depends on certain factors such as age and weight. The best type of car seat for newborns and infants is the rear-facing car seats. These offer more protection for your tender ones in the event of a vehicular collision. Installing a forward-facing car seat for your newborn or infant, in this case, constitutes a car seat misuse. Rear-facing seats distribute the force of collision along the back of the seat, thus protecting your child’s fragile neck and head.
- A wrong amount of recline for the car seat – getting the right amount of recline for your child’s car seat is important. The correct amount of recline for a rear-facing car seat is around 30 to 40 degrees. The angle of recline for children less than one year is 30 degrees.
- Loose installation of the car seat – to enjoy the full protection of your child’s car seat, you have to ensure it is installed tightly to your car. If it can move more than an inch when you wiggle it in any direction, it is not tight enough. Loosely installed car seats cannot prevent your child’s car seat from moving forward if there is a crash. Sadly, 17% of installed car seats are not tightly installed to the vehicle and have increased chances of flying forward if you are involved in a crash. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Wrongly positioned car seats – the best place to install your car seat in your car is at the back seat. The back seat is far from the airbags in your car; hence they are safer. The center seat of your car’s back seat is the safest position for your child’s car seat to be. Sadly, we see many parents installing their child’s car seat at the car’s front seat.
- While the car seat still straps your child in place in the front seat; it does nothing to stop the airbag from hitting your child in the face in the event of a crash. The airbag force is capable of crushing your child’s head and neck and damaging the spine even. You must avoid placing your car seat in your car’s front seat or near the passenger-side airbags.
- Using an expired car seat – most parents do not consider their car seats’ expiration date. Car seats generally have a life span of 6 years. Your car seat must be within the validity period.
- Wrong Harness Strap Height – there are different strap height requirements for each type of car seat. Your harness strap must suit the height for the seat. For forward-facing car seats, your harness should rest on your child’s shoulder or just above it. In rear-facing seats, your harness should be slightly below or at your child’s shoulder.
- Ensure you check how the harness fits as your child grows and adjust it accordingly.
Some other misuses include: using damaged car seats, not using the top teether, exceeding the latch weight limit, incorrectly positioned chest clips.
What are the Dangers of Car Seat Misuse?
According to Mommywithaplan, Car crashes can be catastrophic for young children, but thankfully car seats help reduce the damage. However, with the high car seat misuse rates, the number of sustained injuries and death remains high. Some of the dangers car seats pose to the safety of your child are listed below.
- Spinal cord, neck and head injury
- Broken bones, damage to soft organs like kidney, liver, and spleen
- Bruising, whiplash, and even death.
Minimize your child’s chances of suffering from one or all of these injuries by ensuring they are in the right car seat. Doing this improves your child’s survival rate in a car crash.
How Can I Ensure I am Not Misusing My Child Car Seat?
The first thing is to pick out the right car seat. The proper car seat for your child on the age and weight of your child. We advise that you place newborns and infants in rear-facing car seats. Ensure you note the expiry date of the seat you choose.
Next, be sure to install the car seat in the right position that offers increased protection for your child. The center seat of the back seat is the best position possible for your child’s car seat. Ensure that the car seat is installed firmly to your vehicle and that the harness strap is positioned correctly across your child.
A shocking 59% of car seats are misused. These misuse categories range from loosely installed car seats, wrong recline, improper harness height to even using the wrong seat. Misused car seats pose serious dangers to your child from spinal injuries, damaged internal organs to even death. To ensure you’re using your child’s car seat properly, read this article.