The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children be placed in car seats until at least the age of 5. All children less than 57 inches tall should use a car seat or a booster seat. Having your child secured in the right seat, installed in the correct manner, is not always a simple matter. One study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 72 percent of car and booster seats are misused in a way that increases the chances that the child will die in a car accident. The NHTSA recently released a new tool that could help parents address their car seat concerns.
A new website helps consumers choose a car seat or booster seat that meets the NHTSA's best practice recommendations. By entering a child's birth date, weight and height, consumers can retrieve a list of acceptable safety seats from various manufacturers. The seats can be searched by type or by ease of use ratings. The list includes the height and weight ranges for the various child seats listed.
In addition to finding acceptable child safety seats, the site works alongside the "Don't Delay. Register Your Car Seat Today" campaign. Parents can register their existing car seat. By registering the seats, owners are communicating to manufacturers how to contact them if the seat is recalled. Recalls allow child car seat owners to have safety defects corrected for free.
Car seat recalls are less numerous, but also less effective than auto recalls. The NHTSA reports that an average of 40 percent of recalled car seats actually get the free repair. For light vehicles, 75 percent eventually have the needed repairs done. The difference may be the result of owner registration, which is mandatory for vehicles but voluntary for child safety seats.
Source: Forbes, "New Tools For Better Car Seat Safety," by Tanya Mohn, 24 September 2014