5 Car Seat Safety Tips Every Parent Needs to Know

Parents and caregivers are making five critical, but fixable, mistakes when using car seats. Learn about child passenger safety tips to keep your kids safe.

It's Child Passenger Safety Week, which means its the time for all parents to learn about about the importance of car seat safety -- especially since 73 percent of car seats are not being used correctly.

Safe Kids USA to the rescue! To help parents assess their car seat safety, Safe Kids has an at-home car seat checkup checklist. It is easy to follow and only takes 15 minutes.

Following are the must-know tips that will help parents, grandparents and caregivers begin to ensure that their car seat is used and installed properly:

  • Right Seat. Check the label on your car seat to make sure it's appropriate for your child's age, weight and height. Like milk, your car seat has an expiration date. Just double check the label on your car seat to make sure it is still safe.
  • Right Place. Kids are VIPs, just ask them. We know all VIPs ride in the back seat, so keep all children in the back seat until they are big enough to ride without a booster seat.
  • Right Direction. You want to keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible, usually until around age 2. When he or she outgrows the seat, move your child to a forward-facing car seat. Make sure to attach the top tether after you tighten and lock the seat belt or lower anchors.
  • Inch Test. Once your car seat is installed, give it a good shake at the base where the seat belt fits. Can you move it more than an inch side to side or front to back? A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch.
  • Pinch Test. Make sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming from the correct slots (check car seat manual). Now, with the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child's shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, you're good to go.


Download the Safe Kids Car Seat Checklist

Looking for local help installing your car seat?

For Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln residents, Safe Kids Placer County is our local resource for educating and helping parents with child passenger safety. Appointments can be made to have a car seat installation tutorial or inspection with the Roseville Fire Department. For questions or appointments, contact Jim Owens at 916.772.6300 or jowens@roseville.ca.us.

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