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(BPT) – Are you using your child’s car seat correctly? AAA Northern California and the National Safety Council (NSC) have released new research that clearly reflects the level of information from American parents and caregivers regarding the installation and use of car seats in their cars. .


A new general consumer survey reveals that only 1 in 5 parents and caregivers seek expert help installing a car seat, or securing a child in a vehicle seat. However, more than half (52%) of all car seats inspected by Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs) are installed or used incorrectly, according to the National Digital Car Seat Check Form database. (National Form for Digital Verification of Safety Seats).

What mistakes do parents make about car seats?


The National Safety Seat Digital Verification Form database reveals the three most common errors identified by CPSTs:


1. The car seat is too loose.


2. Do not use the tether strap when installing a forward-facing seat, either with the lower anchors, or with the seat belt.


3. Leaving the harness straps too loose when securing the child in the seat.


These common mistakes can make car seats less effective in protecting your child in a collision.


Car Safety for Toddlers and Older Children


The survey also reported that many parents are moving their children to the next stage of a car seat, booster seat or seat belt, before it is advisable to do so:


1 in 4 children are placed in forward-facing car seats of booster seats, before they have reached the proper height and weight.

More than 90% of children under the age of 10 who use lap and shoulder seat belts should still be placed in car seats or booster seats.

The transition to the next level seat depends on the child’s height and weight, not on age. Also, it is safer to keep the child in the previous car seat form until she reaches the maximum weight and height limits recommended by the manufacturer.


The study also reveals that caregivers are less likely to perform safety seat checks as their children get older:


Child safety technicians inspect about 4 times as many rear-facing car seats compared to front-facing car seats.

Booster seat inspections for children ages 7 and older accounted for less than 3% of the total car seats inspected by CPSTs.

Almost half (47%) of car seats for children 7 years and older are not installed correctly.

What can you do to improve your child’s car safety?


To ensure that the child passenger is protected, AAA recommends that parents and caregivers educate themselves and take advantage of free resources such as virtual or in-person safety seat inspections.


“We urge parents and caregivers to find out and seek free resources such as a virtual or face-to-face inspection of car seats in their area,” says Michelle Donati, a spokesperson for AAA in Northern California. “Making sure a car seat or booster seat is installed and used correctly can provide peace of mind.”


Here are two free resources to verify that you are using your child’s car seat correctly:


Car Seat Basics is a free online course that helps participants understand the four stages of child passenger safety. offers a free information guide and educational videos on proper car seat installation, including instructions on when to safely transition to the next seat.

Visit for more information or to find a car seat inspection site near you.


Are you sure you are using your child’s car seat correctly? A new survey reveals that, while more than 3 out of 4 parents and caregivers (77%) feel confident about properly installing their child securely in a car seat, only 28% say they have done a verification with a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST). In addition, according to the study, conducted by Ipsos at the request of AAA, in safety seat checks conducted by participating parents and caregivers, more than 50% were installed incorrectly.


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