Car Seat Safety Checks: 5 Common Mistakes

The statistics are pretty scary, 4 out of 5 seats are used incorrectly hence risking the safety and wellbeing of kids! This is according to a Washington DC based National Safe Kids Campaign. Mistakes can be deadly when it comes using car seats so it is best to know exactly what you are supposed to do when it comes to using car seats. To protect your little precious one and keep them safe you need to use car seats appropriately and follow all the safety precautions.

  • Here are 5 common mistakes that most parents make and how to avoid them

Mistake ONE-Seat attached loosely to the car

How do I know if the car seat is too loose?

Seat attached loosely to the car

Using both hands grasp the base of the car seat (this is where the safety belt passes through the car seat). If the seat is tight enough you should not be able t move it more than an inch to the right, lefty or forward. If you can still more it an, this is an indication that it is not tight enough.

What is the danger of a loose seat?

In case of a collision, there is a high probability that the child in a loose seat can crash into the back of the front seat and suffer serious face injuries.

How do I prevent this mistake?

Gently place your knee on the car seat then pull all of your weight into it (if you dealing with an infant seat, use your arm), now tighten the seat belt as much as you possibly can. After that lock the seat belt tightly, this is a step that numerous parents skip or are completely unaware of.

MISTAKE TWO-Harness to loose on the kid

How do I know that the harness is too loose?

If after tightening your little one on the car seat, you can still manage to pinch the fabric of the harness straps between your fingers, it is an indication that the harness may be too tight.

What is the danger of a loose harness?

A child with a loose harness can easily come out of the seat in case of a crash and this can cause serious injury. In case of an extreme collision, the child can even be ejected from the vehicle all together which could mean sure death.

How do I fix a loose harness?

This is pretty easy; just tighten the harness keep in mind that while the straps should be comfortable they should have no slack at all.

MISTAKE THREE-Infant turned face-forward too soon


As a rule of thumb all kids below the age of 2 years must remain facing the rear until they reach the maximum weight or height capacity of the car, this is according to the American Academy of Paediatrics. If your baby is still below 20 pound despite age they should not face forward.


What is the danger of facing forward too soon?

Below 20 pounds the bones that help to protect the spinal cord of an infant are still forming. When a child faces the rear, the strongest parts of his delicate body are facing the front so that in case of a crash they are not completely paralysed from impact.

MISTAKE FOUR-Inappropriate use of the retainer clip

How do I know that the retainer clip is placed inappropriately?

The rule of thumb when it comes to retainer clips is that they must be at armpit level, resting across your kid’s breastbone. The retainer clips helps to ensure that the harness straps are located in the appropriate place.

What is the danger of inappropriately placing the retainer clip?

When the retainer clip is not placed in the correct place, the straps can easily come off the child’s shoulders increasing the risks of a child being ejected from the vehicle in case of a crash.

How do I ensure that the retainer is placed correctly?

Parents unknowingly move the retainer clips as they manoeuvre their kids out of the seat. To be safe check the position of the retainer clip every time you buckle up your bundle of joy.

MISTAKE FIVE-Not using the booster seat appropriately

How do I use the booster seat appropriately?

Any child who is between the 40 to 80pounds and up to 4’9 tall (this typically implies four to eight years old) needs to ride in a booster seat. Keep in mind that the work of a booster seat is to lift them higher so that the belt of the car seat fits them well. As a rule of thumb a child under the age of 13 years must avoid seating in the front.

What is the danger of not using a booster seat?

An adult seat used by itself will not help secure a child because these belts tend to cross the kid’s body at the wrong spots (above the belly and high up across the shoulder and sometimes even across the neck which can be deathly). The fix is to go out of your way to find a booster seat that will help secure your safely on the seat.