Child Passenger Safety Week Is September 15-21


The three common car seat mistakes and why they happen

 Defensive Driving

If you think you’re using your child’s safety seat correctly, think again. The majority of car seats – 75 percent – are installed or used incorrectly, according to safety experts.

This has been a deadly summer for Arizona child passengers. From May through August, more than 10 children were killed or seriously injured on Valley roadways. In most of these tragedies, the child was improperly restrained or not restrained at all. This is in stark contrast to last year when 16 children were killed in Arizona car crashes the entire year.

In honor of Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept. 15-21), safety advocate AAA reveals three common car seat mistakes – and why parents make them:

  • Turning too soon: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids remain rear-facing to a minimum of 2 years old, regardless of height or weight, and should continue to rear-face until they outgrow the seat. Rear-facing provides more support to the child’s neck during impact and is more than 500 percent safer than forward-facing seats for children under 2.

WHY: Parents often turn their child forward-facing to coincide with their first birthday.

  • Gadgetry: If it didn’t come with the seat (or wasn’t purchased from the manufacturer to use with the seat), it wasn’t crash-tested with the seat. It, therefore, cannot be guaranteed to be safe and should not be used. This includes strap covers, mirrors, and toys.

WHY: Parents buy gadgets to entertain their child, but it’s not worth the risk.

  • Not replacing seats after a crash or using one without knowing its history: Check your manual to see if the seat should be replaced even after a minor fender-bender and even if no child was in the seat at the time. Also, never buy a used car seat, and never accept a free used one unless you are sure that it has never been in a crash. Even if it looks OK, it may be damaged in ways that aren’t visible. It is safer to buy a cheap, new seat than a name-brand, high-end used seat. All seats pass the same pass/fail crash tests.
    WHY: Some parents try to save money by not buying a new car seat after a crash or don’t notice any visible damage, so they think it’s still safe.