San Diego

Half of Child Car Seats Not Installed Properly

NBC 7 Responds looks into car seat safety and gives links to valuable resources

What parent hasn’t fought trying to find the latch from their child’s car seat to clip onto their car, or mumbled complaints under their breath as they tried to squeeze their hand through the back of the car seat to grab hold of the seat belt on the other end?

All that hard work and still a large number of car seats are not installed properly.

In fact, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that half of all car seats are not put in correctly.

There are a number of reasons for that, said Jennifer Stockburger Director of Operations at Consumer Report’s Auto Test Center in Connecticut.

“The child may not be in the right type of car seat for their age. The car seat may not be secured to the vehicle properly,” said Stockburger.

“Then the baby or child may not be secured to the car seat, the harness is too loose, or the tether is not attached to the car.”

Stockburger said there are other potential issues as well such as not looking at the expiration dates on the seats and what, if any, damage that extreme heat or cold has on the seats.

But there are resources, said Stockburger. Those include local police departments and Highway Patrol Offices where certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians are on call to help ensure car seats are installed properly.

Those aren't the only resources for parents.

Kelly O’Brien works at a local daycare facility. 

“I’ve seen it all,” said Kelly. “I’ve seen loose straps, chest clips on the kid’s belly, and even car seats that weren’t buckled in.”

She also has a three-year-old daughter and a one-year-old daughter at home.

Kelly says the most valuable resource she found is a nationwide car seat group that she found on Facebook. The Facebook group allows people to send video or pictures to certified car seat technicians on the group in order to see if the seats are installed correctly.

“The car safety groups on Facebook were and are the most important tool for me,” said Kelly. “It’s something I use, or can use everyday. It’s a place where all of my questions are answered right away.”

One Facebook group is called Car Seat For The Littles.

And for those parents that would like to steer clear of Facebook, they can find the nearest car seat safety technicians by clicking on the County’s information website, 211 San Diego for locations to meet with certified technicians.

Contact Us