US pushes for car seat safety checks

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We’ve seen a lot of efforts in the UK in recent months to try and improve the safety of children in cars and the US is now looking to do the same, with local drives across the country and at the national level, urging parents to make sure that their child safety seat is installed correctly and securely.

This came about after a new report from roadside assistance firm, AAA, which found that as many as three quarters of US installed baby seats were actually incorrectly set up.

“Three out of four car seats today are installed incorrectly,” said Michele Harris, director of traffic safety culture, AAA (via ABC). “Too often, we see kids who are in a car seat that’s installed incorrectly or not using an age-appropriate booster seat. As we recognize Child Passenger Safety Week Sept. 14-20, it’s a timely reminder to be sure children are safe and secure in the right seat for them.”

Apparently the big point to check is harness straps, which need to be tightened correctly. A common problem is having them too loose, which understandably causes problems in the event of a crash, as it will mean the child seat isn’t held in place and could fly forwards. This can also apply to the child itself if it isn’t secured into the seat correctly either.

Recommendations include making sure all straps lie flat against the frame and don’t have any twists to them. They should also fit quite snugly against the child’s skin and clothes, with little room for manoeuvring. The last thing you want is your little pride and joy wriggling their way to freedom in the middle of a drive.

The CarSeatLady videos have become increasingly popular

Other recent drives for improved car safety for young children has come out of surprising quarters. Car and driver hire service Uber, has an optional $10 service that will see the car you’re provided with come with a child-safety seat, as well as a driver that is trained to install them, thereby making sure your young child is safe on the journey.

However independent websites are perhaps having the biggest impact. TheCarSeatLady is the most popular, with Uber itself using recommendations and expertise from the site to deliver its own child friendly service. The website not only reviews and ranks different car seats to make sure they’re safe and affordable, but it also offers simple instructions and lessons on how to correctly install and remove the seats, without it becoming a massive hassle. It also gives handy tips for parents, like the fact that rear-facing safety seats are up to five times more efficient at protecting your child than forward facing ones.

As it’s been shown that baby seats can help improve the chances of survival and injury reductions in the event of an accident by almost 50 per cent, it’s imperative that all parents that plan to drive with young children learn to work a booster seat, even if it’s a basic one. However with resources like TheCarSeatLady and ready access to the internet, there’s no reason all parents shouldn’t be proficient in the installation and set up of the most effective child-safety-seat they can afford.

Image Source: CarSeatLady

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Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.