Common Car Seat Mistake: Harness Straps Too Loose and Too Low
As part of National Child Passenger Safety Week, AAA – The Auto Club Group joins organizations nationwide to encourage parents and caregivers to make sure their children are riding in a safe seat.
“Three out of four car seats today are installed incorrectly,” said Michele Harris, director of traffic safety culture, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Too often, we see kids who are in a car seat that’s installed incorrectly, or not using an age-appropriate booster seat. As we recognize Child Passenger Safety Week this week, it’s a timely reminder to be sure children are safe and secure in the right seat for them.”
One of the most frequent car seat mistakes is the positioning of the harness straps. If straps are too loose, children will not be properly restrained in the event of a crash. This may subject them to higher crash forces, or even ejection from the seat altogether. Harness straps should lie flat and not have any twists. The harness should be snug enough that you cannot pinch any extra material at the child’s shoulder.
With schools back in session, carpooling among parents increases, which can result in situations where children are not riding in a car seat or booster seat. A recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey found that 43 percent of people surveyed in Tennessee agree it’s difficult to make arrangements to have booster seats available for other people’s children.
The use of booster seats can reduce injuries by 45 percent compared to using an adult safety belt alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Children who have outgrown their five-point harness car seat by weight or height should use a booster seat until they reach 4’9’’, typically between the ages of 8-12.
For younger children using a five-point harness car seat, many hospitals offer car seat installation classes and car seat inspection stations provide certified child passenger safety technicians to inspect the seats to make sure they are installed properly. To find an inspection station or learn more, visit SafeSeats4Kids.AAA.com
The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among residents living in Tennessee from August 22 – 29, 2014. A total of 400 residents completed the survey. State results have a maximum margin of error of ± 4.9 percentage points. An overall survey responses are weighted by gender and age to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Tennessee.