Safety Restraint Misuses

  • At least 3 out of 4 safety seats are unintentionally misused. Partial misuse of a safety seat reduces its effectiveness against severe injuries.
  • Parents’ top 3 mistakes when installing traditional safety seats include:
    • Failure to secure the seat tightly
    • Failure to secure the harness straps tightly
    • Incorrect positioning of the chest clip
  • To help guard against misuse of safety seats, parents should always:
    • READ seat instructions, labels, and vehicle owner’s manual
    • Install the seat tightly (less than 1 inch of movement) & lock the safety belt
    • Position the harness straps tightly
  • The primary cause of injuries from misuse of booster seats is the misrouting of the safety belt. Common misuses of booster seats and safety belts include:
    • Shoulder belts being placed behind the child’s back, under the child’s arm, or over the booster seat arm rest
    • Shoulder belts not being placed at mid-shoulder position
    • Shoulder belts being positioned too loosely

Car Seat Inspections

Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website to get help at a car seat inspection station near you. Certified technicians will inspect your car seat free of charge, in most cases, and show you how to correctly install and use it.