Car Seat Safety: 10 Nightmare Mistakes


car seat safety

One of the reasons the Daily Buzz bloggers have been talking car seats all week is to prevent more mistakes like these! You won't believe these worst-ever installations, witnessed by certified child passenger seat technicians carseatmama, CarSeatJunkie, and heathercpst.

-- A mom came into a clinic with a 9 month old in an infant carrier, but forward facing and not restrained with the belt; an 18 month old in a convertible seat with a shield but sitting on top of an unbuckled harness; and a 2 year old in a backless booster with the lap belt pulled all the way out so he could walk around the vehicle while it was moving.

-- Dad with a 1 week old and a 2 year old with adequately installed seats but with a three foot wrench, toolboxes and saws in the tail that could all be projectile weapons during a crash. Another dad had loose hatchets and axes in the car.

-- Dad clipped the LATCH hooks to a bar in the bight of the seat, so that the seat literally slid from middle position to both passenger side locations.

-- 2x4's bolted to the car seat; bricks used to prop the seat; thick memory foam under the child (never add anything to your car seat ladies!)

-- A car seat fastened to the seat with duct tape.

-- A mom pulled in with an infant seat that was installed without the base and the straps were 6 inches too loose. Her 3 year old and 5 year old were not buckled in and the 3 year old was sitting on the 5 year old's lap because there weren't enough seating positions in the car for all the occupants.

-- I have seen minivans with vehicle seats that do not match the vehicle welded into place so the parents could use the scary built-in seats (these were for 7 month olds!).

-- Kids bundled up in winter coats/snow suits/bundle-me's that would have easily been ejected during a crash because the harness did not fit their bodies due to their puffy clothes they had on.

--  More than a few car seats that were not installed at all or just attached using the tether strap. The parents claimed they didn't know they had to use a seat belt, and thought the seat was protection enough.

--  A pair of grandmas brought their toddler grandson in for a car seat check. They said they knew he wasn't in right, but didn't know how to fix it. The child was tied into the car seat using parachute rope because they couldn't figure out the harness.

In addition, Kristy Arbogast, PhD, director of engineering at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and her crack research team has conducted close to 1,000 crash investigations involving child occupants. Situations that have resulted in serious injuries or death to restrained children include:

  • Use of an infant seat forward facing
  • Positioning a child less than 12 months in a forward facing position
  • Not confirming by a tug on each side that an infant seat has clicked into its base
  • Placing the child seat in the vehicle without attaching it or attaching it extremely loosely
  • Routing the seat belt to attach a toddler seat in front of the child rather than through the designated seat belt routing paths
  • Setting the child in the child seat without using the harness or not snugging the harness to the child
  • Not ensuring that the harness straps go over both the child's shoulders
  • Use of an adult seat belt rather than a booster seat for children too small for the belt to fit properly (typically those <8 years)
  • Placement of the shoulder belt behind the child's back when using a booster seat
  • Seating of children less than 13 years in the front seat

Find a certified car seat technician to check your work.

And also read:

When to Move to a Booster

Are Secondhand Seats Safe

Toddler Seat Do's and Don'ts

And don't forget to enter to win a Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat!

car seat safety


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Peajewel Peajewel

I can't tell you how many times I have seen someone driving down the road wearing a seat belt while their children are just all over the car.  It makes me sick to my stomach.  These are all so awful to hear.  I want to run and have mine checked now. 

babyg... babygoose78

I would like to add the importance of the location of the chest buckle on the carseats. I have seen many mother's that don't pull it up to armpit level. Also, the straps should be tightened down so you can't pinch the strap. I mean to some extent if the straps are so loose, why bother strapping them in at all? I've watch shows like "Bringing Home Baby"  and other programs on tv and see that the straps aren't even close to holding the baby snuggly. Yes my Daughter gets upset when I snug up the straps, but she calms down right away when I am done. I give her a kiss EVERYTIME I strap her in her carseat. She is almost 2 years old now. I hope this information may help save a parent from having an injury with their child. Some other things to consider are the age of the carseat that you plan on using for your child. I was told not to use one more then 5 years old.

babyb... babyboomboom

Thanks!  I found a new use for duct tape!!!  LOL j/k  I hope this article gets more moms to get their car seats checked by safekids.  Car seats save your childs life, wouldn't you want to make sure you are using it the right way?

ohmybaby ohmybaby

I know we had our infant seats for our twins placed correctly and we were very thankful when on Halloween we had a bad car accident.  We drove a Ford Expedition (large SUV) and were on our way to see friends with our little ones in their costumes.  Well the vehicle that hit us was just a bit bigger than us.   He tried to swerve and avoid us but he didn't have time.  Instead he hit the back right corner of our bumper with the left front corner of his.  He would have been smarter to hit us head on and let the bumpers do their job.  Instead it was like we both hit a brick wall.  Everyone was OK but our SUV was totaled.  we could barely drive if off the road.  After a thorough check of our vehicle we found out that the seat belt pins sheered.  The only this holding our kids safely in their seats were the welded child restraints the seats were locked to.  Thank God!

madam... madamekatekate

I was out driving one day, about to merge into the turning lane. The driver in the car behind me was on her phone not paying attention, tried to merge before me (There was no room for this, she was merging before the dashed lines came up!) I saw her just in time and swerved to miss her. The light was red so we both had to wait.

In my rearview mirror I saw the girl in the passenger seat put her seatbelt on. After the light turned green she got in front of me, there was a small toddler (approx. 3) standing up making faces at me and an infant seat (presumably holding an infant) loosley attached in the back.

She proceeded to pass me just to get in front of me and drive realy slow. I suppose to annoy me. And then she tries to stop short so I'd rearend her?? I'm sitting there thinking "Lady, I'm not that stupid." She came to a stop and then turned into this place, after I drove on I saw her leave the parking lot she turned into and turn the OTHER WAY. She seriously went out of her way to make me angry for something she had done wrong.

Anyways...Each and every one of those children were at such a huge risk. I did get a picture of her license but without a picture of the children in danger, I couldn't do too much.

ivans... ivansmom07

I'm so glad the buzz has been writing about car seat safety.  This is one of those things some of us take lightly and it's not cool. 

I hate to hear the lame 'I didn't ride in a car seat and I'm still alive' line over and over.  Our children deserve to be safe.

Thanks, daily buzz.

Pollymom Pollymom

Some of those examples sound like those people are complete idiots....I know getting the car seat in correctly can be tricky, but come on...duct tape? parachute rope? Or just not strapping them in at all? How would you even think that was ok?

RanaA... RanaAurora


I'm so glad the buzz has been writing about car seat safety.  This is one of those things some of us take lightly and it's not cool. 

I hate to hear the lame 'I didn't ride in a car seat and I'm still alive' line over and over.  Our children deserve to be safe.

Thanks, daily buzz.


Hear, hear.

kemcl... kemclaughlin

I am insane about carseat safety and still a few times I have gotten somewhere and realize that we never buckled in the baby or that the seatbelt holding a car seat in had gotten unbuckled.  Only a few times, but it scares you bad enough that you are paranoid and constantly checking.  My family has dubbed me the "carseat nazi" because of it. 


marsha78 marsha78

I'm always getting on my dh about not making the straps snug enough on the boys or not making sure the straps go over their shoulders.  It is a challenge sometimes to install the seat perfectly but at least strap them  in right!

As for the above situations....I'm in shock that people would do those things and really think that it's ok.

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