More than half of car seats are not installed correctly

MESA, AZ – Parents shouldn’t feel stupid. They should just ask for help. That’s the message from Meghan Chute, fire safety and people education specialist at the town of Mesa.

Part of her job is to help answer questions from the community about child safety in cars. Learning the basics can make all the difference in keeping toddlers alive in an accident.

New data from AAA Arizona and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has revealed that more than half of all car seats brought in for inspection are improperly installed, but only one in five parents seek to free local events to help.

“It’s really a matter of life and death when it comes to making sure your car seat is properly installed, so if you have any questions, come talk to us,” said Chute.

“If you look here, you can see these little buttons will tell you there’s an anchor just below,” Chute told ABC15 as she demonstrated how to install a car seat.

Its goal is to make sure the information clicks with parents.

“When we do the education, we’ll show you how to do it,” Chute explained. “But we also want you to do it, in a practical way, so that you know exactly what to do when we’re not around.”

She received extensive training on car seat installation and said she would be as confused as any parent if she hadn’t been given instructions herself.

“A lot of the problems we see are just common abuse,” Chute said.

According to National Digital Car Seat Verification Form, there are some common mistakes parents make:

  1. There are three common installation errors: have the car seat installation too loose, do not use the tether when installing a car seat facing forward with the lower anchors or seat belt, and leave the straps on the harness too loose when securing a child in a car seat.
  2. Children often leave the appropriate car seats before they can do so safely. More than a quarter of children are moved from forward-facing car seats to booster seats too soon, and more than 90 percent of children under 10 using lap belts should still be in a car seat or booster seat. .
  3. Parents and caregivers are less likely to request a car seat inspection as children grow up in forward-facing car seats and booster seats. Child passenger safety technicians inspect about four times as many rear-facing car seats as front-facing car seats, and 73 percent of forward-facing car seats do are not correctly installed.

Car crashes are one of the leading killers of children in the United States. The latest NHTSA data from 2019 found, on average, 500 children are injured every day across the country.

Where you can get help with car seats

Mesa Fire and Medical opened registration now for their next car seat clinic starting Wednesday, October 13.

Phoenix Fire has options for drivers to register for assistance at four different fire stations. To see what hours are available and which location is closest to you, Click here.

Tempe Fire offers car seat checks every Tuesday by appointment. Click here for this information.

Gilbert Fire-Medical opened registration for one event on October 14 and another in November. Click here for those details.

If a parent lives in Goodyear, here is the link online to request an appointment for a car seat control.

Scottsdale has a phone number and an online form for an appointment. Access this information here.

Peoria Fire-Medical also asks you to make an appointment. They suggest calling 623-773-7919 to set it up.

Phoenix Children’s also offers car seat safety assistance. They ask parents to call 602-933-3350 to register.


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