Child Passenger Safety Tips

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Unless you regularly check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website like me, you probably missed Child Passenger Safety Week in September. The Department of Transportation does their best to raise awareness about keeping kids safe in the event of a crash, but sometimes the message gets lost under banal stats and minimal fanfare.

What made this public service announcement notable was the release of a survey detailing the five most common mistakes made in child safety by parents. About one in five parents don’t bother to read the installation instructions for their child’s car seats. Regardless, 90 percent were totally confident of their safety restraints. Here are the top five mistakes:

1. Wrong harness slot: Often, children were strapped in using a slot that’s too low or too high for optimum safety in the event of a crash.

2. Chest harness disregarded: The survey found the chest harness was commonly clipped over the tummy instead of the chest or just not clipped at all.

3. Loose car seat: The seat shouldn’t be able to move more than a single inch in any direction —up, down, left or right.

4. Loose harness: Don’t allow any slack between the harness and the child. Some parents surveyed left two inches of slack or more, which is not up to safety standards.

5. Seat belt placement: The lap and shoulder belts should be in their respective places. Though they love to wiggle out of the seat belt, pressing their face in the shoulder strap and pulling the lap belt over the belly or below the knees will do no good in a crash.

If you can confidently say that the above mistakes won’t happen on your watch, then congratulations! Child car seats are designed to save lives and proper usage should give you confidence on the road. To read more about child safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a whole section devoted to the subject on their website. Written on behalf of the Accident Attorneys’ Group, personal injury law firm.


  1. I would add, education for older kids. I’ve seen so many kids stick out their hands and upper bodies from school buses without heed to danger. Safety stars with educating for kids who are old enough to understand.

  2. When all 3 of my kids were born, one of the first places we stopped was our fire station trying to make sure that all 3 were strapped in correctly! Because they all change so fast, I wanted to make sure that their new seats and needs were done right. Thanks for reminding me!

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