National Seat Check Saturday is scheduled for Sept. 21. On this day, which is held in conjunction with Child Passenger Safety Week, many businesses throughout local communities offer free car-seat inspections. Some of these businesses include schools, hospitals, fire and police stations, and more.
Find a child seat safety check location near you.
Having a properly installed car seat can protect a child in the event of an accident. In 2017, 325 children under the age of 5 were saved by car seats. However, car seats’ effectiveness can be hindered if they are not properly installed. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 46 percent of car seats are installed incorrectly.
The best way to ensure a car seat is properly installed is to have it checked by a specialist. There are also tips you can use when installing a car seat in your fleet or personal vehicle.
To properly install a car seat:
- Make sure you read the complete car seat manual, as well as your vehicle’s owner’s manual on car seat installation.
- Use the lower anchors of the LATCH system or the seat belt to secure the car seat into place.
- Place the car seat in the back seat of the vehicle and follow the manufacturer’s installation directions.
- Secure the car seat tightly in the vehicle so that it doesn’t move side-to-side or front-to-back more than 1 inch.
- For a rear-facing car seat, make sure it is installed at the correct recline angle.
- For a forward-facing car seat with a top tether strap, connect it to the tether anchor and tighten it. This helps limit forward head movement in the event of a crash.
It’s especially important to avoid these common mistakes when installing a car seat:
- Don’t place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an air bag.
- Don’t let an infant car seat face the front of the vehicle.
- Don’t let the harness hang too loose.
- Don’t let a child ride in the front seat.
- Don’t let the car seat be attached too loosely to the vehicle.
- Don’t place the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the back.
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