What you don't know about safety seats could hurt your child

Published: Sep. 24, 2018 at 1:54 PM EDT
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Danielle Brandt brought her child car seat to a New Jersey inspection station and found out she made some mistakes.

"I learned that it's great to put the car seat in the center of the car," the mom said.

Studies show most parents incorrectly install car seats.

Christine Marcantonio is the traffic safety program coordinator for the Union County Police Department.

"Eight out of 10 people coming through here we will find something wrong with the installation," Marcantonio said.

She said a common mistake parents make is moving their kids from rear-facing to front-facing seats too soon. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends leaving small children in rear-facing seats until they hit the manufacturer's maximum height and weight.

"A rear-facing seat moves with the child so it protects the vulnerable parts of the body: the head, neck and spine," Marcantonio said.

On front-facing seats, she said many parents forget to use the back tether. The tether prevents the child from slamming into the front seat.

September 29 is National Seat Check Saturday. At events nationwide, parents can have car seats inspected.

"We do recommend that if you can find a place to help you inspect your seat and make sure it's properly installed that you do," Marcantonio said.

A child in a car seat that's installed correctly faces a much lower risk of being injured in a crash.