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Is your car seat installed correctly?

Parents in Colorado know that their kids need to be in car seats. But, is that car seat installed correctly? Chances are, it’s not. According to the governmental website safercar.gov, three out of every four car seats are not used properly. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of deaths for young people so it is imperative that parents make sure their car seat is installed and used properly.

Car seats are used for kids from age birth until they are able to use an adult size seat belt, at least until the age of 8. Laws in Colorado require the use of a car seat or booster seat for all children through the age of 7. The type of car seat depends on the age and weight of the child. It should be rear-facing until the child is at least 1 year of age.

Parents should use the car seat owner’s manual and be sure to follow the instructions on how to install the car seat correctly. Every seat needs to be installed using the car’s LATCH system or using a seatbelt. Once installed the car seat should not move from side to side or forward to backward. If it is a forward facing seat and has a top tether strap connect that strap to the anchor on the back of the seat. This step can limit forward head movement in the event of a car accident. If the seat is rear-facing the seat should be installed at the right angle. Many seats have a built in system to show that the seat is at the right angle.

A child should also be properly positioned in a car seat. The harness straps should lie flat and not be twisted. The harness should be snug enough and not be pinched at the shoulder. The chest strap should be at armpit level. A serious injury or death can occur if a child is not properly confined to a car seat.

If parents or guardians have any questions regarding the proper installation and use of car seats there are many inspection stations located throughout Colorado. Many police and fire departments offer this free service to make sure kids are safe in the car. This can ensure their safety in a potential car accident.

Source: safercar.gov “Car seat recommendations for children,” accessed on Aug. 25, 2014

Source: safercar.gov “Car seat recommendations for children,” accessed on Aug. 25, 2014

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