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!

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