JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There’s nearly a 6 in 10 chance that your child’s car seat is installed incorrectly, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 through 3, and 37% of children killed in crashes are unrestrained.
National Child Passenger Safety Week works to raise awareness around the common mistakes parents and caregivers make when dealing with car and booster seats.
Typically, you would be able to take your child’s seat to a location to get it checked by a child passenger safety technician, however, the pandemic is changing how these checks are done.
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Safe Kids Northeast Florida is going virtual for its seat checks during the pandemic to still meet the needs of parents and caregivers.
Since April, the organization has done more than 150 virtual seat checks.
“I have some demo seats and some dolls, as you can see in my other camera there. I even have a vehicle seat here, and I have two cameras, so I’m able to show and watch. And families have been very receptive to this,” said Danielle Kessenger, a child passenger safety technician instructor.
Kessenger and AAA said the most common mistakes parents or caregivers make when it comes to car seats are:
- Failing to fully read the manual and follow the directions correctly.
- Not installing the car seat tight enough -- the car seat shouldn’t move side to side or front to back more than 1 inch at the belt path.
- Keeping harness straps too loose -- harness straps should lay flat without twists and need to be snug enough to not pinch any extra material on the child’s shoulder.
- Drivers or other passengers not buckling themselves up. Everyone in the vehicle should be buckled up!
Due to the lack of travel, it is also important you check your child’s car seat to make sure it still works appropriately.
“We’re not in the vehicle as much and kids grow. So, before you get on the road, double-check that the car seat is in there correctly," Kessenger said. “The child is still within the height and weight limits listed on the side of the car seat on the label. We haven’t really been traveling that much so get out there and check.”
If you’re wondering what kind of seat you should use for your child, here’s some information from AAA about what kind of chair you should use depending on your child’s age and size:
Rear-facing safety seat: Children should stay rear-facing as long as possible, up to the limits of the car safety seat. This includes almost all children under 2.
Forward-facing safety seat, with harness: Many seats can take children up to 60 pounds or more. When they are ready and exceed the seat’s limits, move to a belt-positioning booster seat.
Belt-positioning booster seat: Use until the vehicle’s lap and shoulder seat belts fit properly—generally when children are at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall (usually 8 to 12 years old).
Front seat versus back seat: All children younger than 13 should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.
State Law: Florida’s law on this subject does not reflect best practices. Currently, children riding in motor vehicles are required to be in a safety seat until their 6th birthday. However, AAA feels that law is not strong enough and recommends that children use a safety seat until they are at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall, and pass the “Seat Belt Fit Test."
This Saturday there will be in-person seat checks, by appointment only.
You can call 904-202-4302 to make an appointment.
If you can’t make it this Saturday, you can schedule virtual checks online.
You can call 904-202-4302 or email ChildSafety@bmcjax.com to schedule these virtual checks.
For more information on all child passenger safety, click here.