Officials say correctly installed car seats save lives

50% of car seats are misused or installed incorrectly.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 8:18 PM EDT
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ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - During National Child Passenger Safety Week, car seat technicians hope to get the word out that correctly installed car seats save lives.

Renae Dawson, a certified car seat technician for Delta and Schoolcraft counties, provides free car seat installation services for parents and other child transportation providers.

“I actually install their child into the car seat, get them fitted into it, and then fit it into the car,” Dawson said.

She said 50% of car seats are misused or installed incorrectly. When a car seat is used correctly, the risk of injuries to children is reduced by 71% to 82%. Dawson added a correctly installed car seat should not move more than an inch.

Michigan’s Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) said it’s not just parents who need to know about car seat safety.

“It’s people who are transporting children,” OHSP Director Katie Bower said. “If you take your child to another caregiver and they’re transporting your child, a neighbor, a friend, a grandparent who is taking your child to school, and they have an extra car seat in their vehicle, they should also be ensuring that they have a safe car seat.”

Counterfeit seats also create high-risk situations for children due to poor quality components and lack of safety testing. There are a few red flags for car seat buyers to be aware of either before purchase or once they receive the car seat, Bower said.

Red Flags that might indicate a counterfeit car seat
Low cost
Fun designs
Missing pieces
Inability to register the seat for recall notifications
No manufacturer information
Labeling does not include height/weight specifications
Labeling has a lot of misspelled words

Bower and Dawson recommended that buyers register their car seats to ensure recall notifications are received on a timely basis.

Dawson added that no one should purchase a used car seat unless registration records are provided by the previous owner.