86% of Parents Are Making This Surprising Mistake When Putting Their Baby in a Car Seat

August 13, 2017
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A new study suggests that when it comes to car seats, it’s highly likely that you’re making a major mistake.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Pediatrics, says that a whopping 95 percent of parents are making at least one significant error when installing car seats and securing our kids in them.

Researchers, who surveyed about 300 parents, mostly moms aged 25 to 34, found that above all, 86 percent of families positioned their newborn in the seat incorrectly. This increases the chance of the baby being injured while driving, even without a crash.

“A number of studies have shown that an incorrect angle of recline can lead to injury to babies, especially if too upright, as the baby’s head can flop forward and obstruct the airway,” said study author Dr. Benjamin Hoffman. “Having a chest clip too low can allow the baby to slump, and there have been cases of strangulation as a result.”

Of all the car seats used within the study, 77 percent were installed incorrectly. What’s even more alarming is the fact that for most parents, it’s a combination of mistakes rather than a single trip-up: 50% of the study’s participants made five or more errors, while just one-fifth made a single error.

These were some of the more prevalent mistakes in both the installation phase and in the placement of the baby:

* 69% left the harness too loose
* 44% of car seats moved more than one inch from side to side
* 41% of car seats were installed at the incorrect recline angle
* 35% left the harness retainer clip too low
* 31% used the incorrect harness slot
* 21% used a nonregulated product, like a blanket, with their car seat
* 20% of car seats touched the front seats

“Mistakes are common because car seats can be complicated,” Hoffman said. “The manual for the car seat does explain all the recommendations, but they can be hard to understand, and many people may not read them for a variety of reasons.”

The results of this study note that 89 percent of the errors are deemed “critical” and it might make parents feel they are doomed to fail, however, Hoffman maintains that it should serve as motivation for moms and dads to educate themselves on proper infant car-seat safety.

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