Driving Smart: Four common car seat mistakes

With car-seat installation and use, it's often the little things that lead to misuse. Avoid these four common car seat mistakes.

New parents have a steep learning curve when their newborn finally arrives. From changing a diaper to getting their little one to sleep, there’s a lot to learn, including car seats. Keep your little ones – and your bigger kids – safe in the car by avoiding these common car seat mistakes.

Using the seat belt or Latch system incorrectly when installing the car seat. If you’re using a seat belt to install the car seat, make sure the seat belt’s retractor is in the locked position. If you’re using the Latch system, make sure to connect the seat correctly to the Latch anchors and not some other part of the car.

Don’t use the Latch system and a seat belt to install a car seat. Many parents think that more is better, but this isn’t the case with car seats. Parents should use either the Latch system or a seat belt for car-seat installation, but they should never use both. Both methods do an equally good job of securely installing a car seat and keeping a child safe.

The car seat can move more than an inch after it's installed. Check your car seat by grabbing it near the belt path and giving it a tug. If it moves more than an inch in any direction, adjust it to get a tighter fit. Check this every time your kids use their car seat.

Moving your child out of their booster seat too soon. Compared to other car seats, booster seats seem easy, but many parents don’t keep their children in their seat long enough. Kids should ride in boosters until they’re 4 feet 9 inches tall. That’s the height at which the rear seat belts, which are designed for adults, will fit a child correctly.



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