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Three out of Every Four Car Seats Installed Incorrectly




Too many infants and babies are exposed to unnecessary risks due to improperly installed car seats.  So what is the problem here; design of the car seat products or the ignorance by the parents?

For more than two hours, Xiaopeng Li struggled to securely install two rear-facing car seats for his young children in his Toyota Sienna minivan.

Even then, Mr. Li, a research scientist, could not be sure he had done so correctly. So he drove to a nearby car dealership, where the Montgomery County Fire Rescue unit regularly offers help installing car seats.

“I thought I got it, but after I came in here, they said, ‘No, it’s wrong,’ ” said Mr. Li, 38, who has a Ph.D. and works at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

He has plenty of company. Despite being in use for decades, car seats remain a vexing safety issue for families unable to figure out how to install them correctly.

Automobile crashes remain the leading cause of death for children 13 and younger, according to federal regulators. A large number of the fatalities involve children in car seats.

Deaths of children in car seats declined to 397 in 2011 — the last year data was available from the traffic safety agency — from 614 in 2002. But auto safety experts say the numbers could be much lower with easier-to-use car seats and better instructions on how to strap them into vehicles.

“The fact that somewhere around three-quarters of all seats are installed incorrectly means there’s something that is being missed,” said Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, an associate professor at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Ore. He has been a child passenger safety technician instructor since 1997. “People figure it’s a car seat, how hard can it be?”
Regulators have tried for years to simplify the process. Starting in 2000, the traffic safety agency phased in a latch system that would allow car seats to be secured to anchors in a vehicle’s seats, instead of looping a seat belt through part of the car seat. Automakers were required to provide anchors and fasteners at the top of the seats to make car seats easier to install.

One expert said that a car seat can move much farther forward during a collision if it is installed using only a seat belt and the top of the seat is not secured.

“There’s a high likelihood that the child’s head is going to move forward enough that they might hit the back of the seat in front of them, which is a setup for brain and spinal injuries,” said Dr. Alisa Baer, a New York pediatrician who heads a safety group called the Car Seat Lady.

If you are not sure if the car seat is installed correctly in you vehicle, it's best to get a help from the experts.
You can find the nearest car seat inspection station here: NHTSA website

Three out of Every Four Car Seats Installed Incorrectly Reviewed by Blogs on 2:10 PM Rating: 5

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