PARENTS often install their child's car seat dangerously wrong, a study shows.
While car seat ease of use ratings are accurate, parents often still make mistakes putting them in their cars, US doctors found.
Around half do not attach the top tether — a strap on the top of the seat — to an anchor point on the vehicle.
Researchers said parents should get help from professionals when putting in their car seat for the first time.
Dr Michelle Macy, of Ann and Robert H Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, said: “New parents often receive training on car seat installation before the baby is born.
“However, it would be beneficial for them to take advantage of the available resources after the child's birth as well.
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“This is especially important during the transition from infant carrier to rear-facing car seat, and then again when switching to the seat to face forward.”
Nearly 1,700 children in England died in car accidents from 2019 to 2021, according to the Department of Transport.
The NHS recommends you buy a car seat before your baby is born and ensure it fits your car and is suitable for a newborn.
Parents are recommended to practise fitting the seat before their child is born, and ask staff at retailers to help fit the seats if they are experienced.
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The new study, published in Traffic Injury Prevention, looked at how many errors are typically made by parents when fitting the seats.
Researchers analysed data from seat check records in Illinois from 2015 to 2019 and Ease of Use (EOU) ratings from 2008 to 2020.
Errors were most common for seats with installed seat belts (70 per cent) and least common for recline angle seats (37 per cent).
Dr Macy said: “Overall, our study results show that parents can rely on the car seat rating system when choosing an appropriate car seat for their child.
“They just need to be aware that installation and use errors can still occur even with the top-rated car seats.
“We encourage parents to get help from a certified technician to ensure their child's safety on the road.”
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