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Are buckling in your child correctly? Nearly 60% of car seats are used wrong – Citizen Times

Dec 31st, 2019

Emily Eileen Carter, Special to WNC Parent Published 6:00 a.m. ET Dec. 30, 2019

It is crucial for parents to inform themselves on both current state child restraint laws and thelatest guidelines for correct car seat installation.(Photo: GETTY)

In 2017, 675 kids age 12 or youngerdied and nearly 116,000 were hurt in crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another alarming statistic: The CDC reports that systems to restrain children are often used incorrectly, including 59% of car seats and 20% of booster seats.

That makes it crucial for parents to inform themselves on both current state child restraint laws and thelatest guidelines for correct car seat installation. And that can be a daunting task with a wealth of car seat options and safety information.

Area and state organizations offer up-to-date and easy to follow guidelines that can help parents stay abreast of the latest regulations and check car seats to ensure optimum safety.

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death and injury to children, and a properly used car seat can greatly reduce the risk of the child being injured in a crash," saysNancy Lindell, Mission Health spokeswoman. "Make sure you are using it correctly!"

In North Carolina, one resourcefor parentsis, which offersa wealth of guidelines, FAQs, and resources on the issue of car seat safety.

There is no single number age, height, or weight to determine the best option," BuckleUpNC states on the site."Kids come in all shapes and sizes with different personalities and levels of maturity. What might make sense for one child may not be the best choice for another, even if they are the same age or size.

North Carolina law requires a car or booster seat forchildren who are younger than age 8 and less than 80 pounds.

"When a child reaches age 8 (regardless of weight) or 80 pounds (regardless of age), a properly fitted seat belt can be used in place of a car seat or booster seat," according to BuckleUpNC.

Caregivers shouldn't be too quick to turn a child who is 2 years old forward-facing. A rear-facing car seat offers the best protection.(Photo: manonallard, Getty Images)

One of the most difficult parts of car seat safety is selecting the right car seat for your child. BuckleUpNC offers tips on how to choose the best seat, given children vary so much in weight and height at different ages.

Safe Kids WNC,led by Mission Childrens Hospital, is committed to lowering accidental injury among children in WNC. Itsinitiatives work to increase public awareness of ways to prevent childhood injuries and collaborate with community agencies in their efforts to keep children safe.Safe Kids WNC also offers financial support.

If a family has a financial need to obtain an appropriate car seat, they can contact our office for assistance for a new, low cost car seat at 828-213-5548 to set up an appointment," Lindell says.

What are some common mistakes parents make when installing car seats? Lindell explains:

Using both the seat belt and the LATCH system to install the seat into the car.Unless the manufacturer allows for it, use either the LATCH system or the seat belt to install, but not both. Both systems are equally safe.When using the seat belt, be sure the seat belt is locked.The car seat should not move more than one-inch side to side or front to back at the belt path. When using a forward-facing car seat, top tethers should be used.

There are weight limits when using the LATCH system.

Check your car seat instructions and vehicle owner's manual to determine when LATCH should be discontinued, and then use a seat belt for installation.

A girl watches her mother as she tries to anchor a new car seat to the vehicle.(Photo: Getty Images)

Leaving the harness straps too loose.If the harness is too loose, a child can be ejected from the seat.Adults should not be able to pinch any harness webbing at the child's shoulder.Do not leave bulky winter coats on a child who isbuckled in the car seat. In a crash, the coat can compress and produce a loose harness, which can result in the childs whole body coming out of the car seat, causing severe injuries or even death.

The chest clip is in the wrong spot. The retainer clip (chest clip) should always be at armpit level.

In general, adults should follow the car seat's manufacturer instructions, as well as the vehicle's instructions on car seat installation. Not all seating positions are available to use the LATCH system.

Call Safe Kids WNC for help with installation at828-213-5548.

Local fire stations also help with installation and perform checks. For a list of where to go, check the Safe Kids WNC site,

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Are buckling in your child correctly? Nearly 60% of car seats are used wrong - Citizen Times

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