Car seat safety has been big news this year, in light of the new AAP guidelines which recommend keeping children rear-facing until age 2. Now, USA Today has reported on a new study that will keep car seat safety in the spotlight, as researchers found that the majority of parents aren't installing car seats correctly.
Plus: Read Up on the New AAP Car Seat Guidelines
Safe Kids, a nonprofit devoted to preventing childhood injuries, conducted one of the largest studies ever on car seat safety by reviewing 79,000 car seat checklists, collected from two installation inspection events they held in 2009 and 2010. The inspection checks were voluntary, which means the rate of improperly installed car seats is likely even higher.
Plus: 11 Top Car Seat Installation Mistakes You May Be Making
One of the major findings was that only 30% of parents use the tether straps that secure the tops of car seats (and children's heads), which could keep them safer in crashes. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the leading cause of death in children ages 3 to 14, and properly installed car seats decrease the risk of death in a car crash by 71% in infants and 54% in toddlers.
Plus: Your Rear-Facing Car Seat FAQs Answered
Watch tips from child passenger safety technician Anne Hamilton, who has been through a scary car accident herself with her three kids in car seats:
Have you ever had your car seat installation checked by a professional? If not, consider heading to the nearest child car seat inspection station for a (usually free) check. In fact, Saturday, September 24th is National Seat Check Saturday—a perfect occasion to do it!