This week is National Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week

Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old. Many times deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper use of car seats, booster seats and seat belts.

According to a survey from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), parents are making five significant mistakes when using car and booster seats:

  1. Wrong harness slot used – The harness straps used to hold the child in the car seat were positioned either too low or too high;
  2. Harness chest clip positioned over the abdomen rather than the chest or not used at all;
  3. Loose car seat installation – The restraint system moved more than two inches side-to-side or front to back; anything more than one inch is too much.
  4. Loose harness – More than two inches of total slack between the child and the harness strap; there should be no slack.
  5. Seat belt placement was wrong – Lap belt resting over the stomach and/or shoulder belt on the child’s neck or face.

The survey also revealed that 20 percent of all drivers of child passengers did not read any instructions on how to properly install their child restraints, yet 90 percent felt ‘confident’ or ‘very confident’ that their car seats and booster seats were installed correctly.

To help parents ensure their child seats are installed and used correctly, Safe Kids and NHTSA are encouraging everyone to conduct an at-home checkup using the following Safe Kids Car Seat Checkup list.

Child Passenger Safety Week begins September 13 and ends September 19 with National Seat Check Saturday.

Look for car seat inspection events throughout Child Passenger Safety Week at http://www.safercar.gov/cpsApp/cps/index.htm.

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