Car Seat Safety

As parents, when it comes to your child’s health and well-being, you want what is best for your child. One of the best things that you can do to protect your child is to make sure that your child travels safely in vehicles. Car crashes are the leading cause of death of children between the ages of 1 through 12 in the United States. Make sure that your child’s car seat (or booster seat) is correctly installed in the vehicle and that your child is properly secured in the child safety seat. Correct use of child safety seats drastically reduces the risk of potentially fatal injury in the event of a vehicle collision.

When installing a child safety seat, keep in mind that store displays and illustrations may not show correct usage. Please be advised, the information provided on this webpage is not to take the place of reading a car seat instruction or vehicle manual, but includes helpful hints for parents when installing a child’s safety seat.

Common Mistakes When Installing a Car Seat

  1. Dressing your child in bulky outerwear
  2. Getting a used car seat without researching its history
  3. Placing the car seat in the wrong spot
  4. Incorrectly buckling up your child
  5. Reclining your child at the incorrect angle
  6. Moving to a forward-facing car seat too soon
  7. Moving to a booster seat too soon
  8. Incorrectly using a booster seat
  9. Moving from a booster seat to only the vehicle safety belt too soon
Correct car seat use can reduce risk of death by as much as 71 percent

Car Seat Installation Safety Tips

  1. Use a rear-facing car seat for babies under the age of 2.
  2. Adjust the chest clip to the armpit level.
  3. Use either the car's seat belt or LATCH system to secure the car seat into the car, but NOT BOTH systems at the same time (unless your car seat manual specifically advises you to do so).
  4. For a rear-facing car seat, make sure the shoulder straps go through the slots at or below your baby's shoulders. For a forward-facing car seat, make sure that the shoulder straps go through the slots at or above your child's shoulders.
  5. Make sure the buckled harness straps that keep your baby properly secured in the car seat fit snuggly--you shouldn't be able to pinch any extra webbing at the shoulder.
  6. Never install a rear-facing car seat in front of an active airbag.
  7. Have your car seat checked by a currently certified Child Passenger Safety technician to make sure it's properly installed.
Person putting a chil in a car seat
CDC seat as child ages
CDC rear facing
CDC forward facing seat
CDC booster seat
CDC seat belt

Car Seat Installation & Technical Support

If you need assistance installing your safety seat or would like a technician to check whether you’ve installed it properly, Bayfield County Health Department has certified Child Passenger Safety available to assist you. Please contact Bayfield County Health Department at 715-373-6109 to schedule an appointment for a car seat check or for any other child passenger safety questions you may have.

Images courtesy of CDC and SafeKids