Five dangerous car seat mistakes

Child faces forward too soon

Children have large heads and comparatively weak necks, so if a child is facing forward in in a collision, his head can jerk forward suddenly and violently, resulting in spinal injuries. A rear-facing child safety seat better supports the head, neck, and spine by distributing the force of the collision over the entire body. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says to keep children in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the seat’s maximum rear-facing height and weight limits. Most rear-facing convertible seats can accommodate children up to 40 pounds or more, allowing them to stay rear-facing until around age 4.

Harness straps are twisted or loose

Make sure harness straps lie flat, not twisted. Pull the harness nice and snug, to hold your child safely in an accident. If you can pinch any excess fabric on the harness, it’s too loose.

Harness clip is too low

Position the harness clip that connects the two shoulder straps at armpit level. It keeps the straps in place so your child will be held securely in a crash. A clip that’s too low won’t keep the straps in place and can injure abdominal organs in an accident.

Child is bundled up in the seat

Don’t put anything thicker than a light fleece between your child and the harness straps. Extra bulk compresses in a crash, loosening the harness so your child is no longer safely secured. Cover your child after the harness is buckled.