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Road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United State. September is Child Passenger Safety Month and it’s a good time to review if the car seat in your car is installed properly.

We asked Mario Soto, child passenger safety technician at Child Crisis Arizona, what are the top three mistakes people make with car seats? Here was his response:

  1. Turn your child forward facing too soon. It is recommended to leave your child in a rear-facing seat until at least two years old and even longer if possible. The safest position for a child to ride in is rear-facing. Your child can remain rear-facing for as long as the weight limit on the car seat allows.
  2. Harness straps are too loose. Harness straps should fit snug on your child’s shoulder with the chest clip level with their armpits. You can test if the straps are tight enough by performing a “pinch test.” If you can pinch the straps (from up and down, not side to side) then the straps are too loose.
  3. Use either the seat belt or the anchors but not both. Car seats are manufactured to be attached to the seat with a seat belt or with anchors attached to the metal in the crease of the seat. It is not manufactured to use both. The tether and anchor at the top of the seat can be used with the seat belt. No matter how you attach the car seat, it should be tight so it does not move more than an inch in any direction. The red line on the seat should also be level with the ground of the car.

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