State Farm aims to improve the use of child safety seats and seatbelts

Child safety seats - Child in safety seat

Nearly three quarters of babies and kids aren’t traveling with the appropriate restraints.

State Farm has issued an insurance news release pointing out that most child safety seats are not being properly used and that seatbelts are still not being worn enough despite the fact that they save lives.

The insurance company was pointing to Safe Kids Worldwide data about auto restraints for kids.

That data showed that 73 percent of child safety seats and boosters aren’t correctly used in at least one – but often several – ways. Moreover, 25 percent of parents admit that when they are taking short trips, they either improperly restrain their children or fail to restrain them at all.

Frequently, parents make several mistakes simultaneously which can place their kids in substantial danger, even in the case of a minor collision. Among the most common mistakes that parents make is to use the wrong type of seat for their child. According to California Highway Patrol Officer Charmaine Fajardo, who was quoted in the insurer’s media release, it’s important for parents to know that the type of seat or booster a kid uses is not determined by their age but should instead be chosen based on height and weight. When a booster or seat doesn’t fit properly, there is a risk that a kid will slip out of the restraints.

Many parents also don’t realize that child safety seats have an expiry date after which they shouldn’t be used.

Though it’s not common for the restraints to have expired when a kid is using one that was purchased new for them, parents who don’t realize there is an expiry on the equipment will pass it down from one child to the next. It’s also common to purchase a second-hand booster at thrift stores or yard sales without realizing that the expiry may have passed. As a result, it is not recommended that parents purchase seats second hand as straps, locking mechanisms or plastic may have worn and have been compromised over the years due to wear and tear or environmental factors.

Among the other mistakes most commonly made by parents with child safety seats has to do with where it is placed. These seats are meant to be installed in the back of the vehicle. Moreover, while it’s not a requirement, it’s highly recommended that the center spot be used. The reason is that the central location in the vehicle provides the largest amount of protection in case rear doors are struck in a collision.

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