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Five Key Mistakes Parents Make With Car Seats|
St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital injury prevention experts encourage parents and caregivers to complete an at-home car seat checkup
Tampa, Fla. (Sept. 19, 2012) – Parents are making five critical, but fixable, mistakes when using car seats, according to a new survey from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The research also indicates that 73 percent of child safety seats are used incorrectly, and previous studies have shown that figure to be as high as 93 percent in Hillsborough County.
Despite numerous campaigns to promote the use of child safety seats, and despite child occupant protection laws, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for children age 1 to 13. Child safety seats, when correctly installed and used, are extremely effective in saving children’s lives, reducing the risk of death by as much as 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers.
According to NHTSA, the following are the five most significant and commonly observed mistakes made by parents and caregivers when using and installing car seats and booster seats:
One question child passenger safety experts at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital hear most is, "Which car seat is the best?" According to St. Joseph’s Children’s Advocate Tonya Randolph, the answer isn't a specific brand or model, but rather the one that fits the child, fits the vehicle and is used correctly every time.
“Engineers are working hard to ensure cars and car seats are designed to keep kids as safe as possible, but it’s up to parents to take full advantage of these innovations by making sure car seats are used and installed correctly,” said Randolph.
In addition to reading the vehicle and car seat instruction manuals, Randolph urges parents to take the time to do the following 15-minute at-home annual checkup.
“Children visit the doctor every year for an annual checkup, and we recommend that parents give their car seats an annual checkup, too,” Randolph notes. “A quick home checkup could save a life.”
Car Seat Checkup Checklist:
Each year, Child Advocates at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital inspect more than 1,200 child safety seats at various locations throughout Hillsborough County. To find out more about child passenger safety seats or to schedule an appointment to have your seat inspected, please call (813) 443-2046.
[Editor’s Note: Media interested in speaking to one of our Child Advocates about car seat safety, please call Amy Gall at (813) 870-4731.]