Keeping your children safe in a car isn't easy. In fact, AAA has found that 75 percent of car seats are not properly installed. AAA has identified the top child-safety mistakes parents and caregivers make in cars. Here's how to correct the typical child-safety mistakes.
|Mistake: Moving child out of a booster seat too soon.|
Why: Seat belts won't properly protect a smaller person in a crash.
What to do: Wait until the lap portion fits across the hips, not abdomen, and the shoulder belt fits centered on the shoulder.
|Mistake: Seat or straps aren't tight enough.|
Why: If the car seat and straps aren't tight enough, the seat will move and not protect the child's body.
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What to do: Make sure the seat doesn't move more than an inch. Check the harness straps to ensure they are snug.
|Mistake: Turn a child forward-facing too soon.|
Why: Young children are better protected in a car crash in rear-facing seats.
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What to do: Wait until a child is age 2 to turn him or her forward-facing.
|Mistake: Allowing a child under 13 to ride up front.|
Why: Front seat belts are designed for larger bodies, and in a car crash, air bags can seriously injure growing bones. What to do: Wait until children are in their teens to allow riding in the front seat.
|Mistake: Using LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) restraint system incorrectly.|
Why: Not using the top tether will allow the child's head to experience excessive forward movement in crashes. Using LATCH centered in the rear seat could cause it to work improperly.
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What to do: Ensure LATCH works in the seat position you've chosen and that the top tether is tightened snugly.
|Mistake: Transporting unsecured items, including pets.|
Why: Larger items such as suitcases and pets and even heavy backpacks and briefcases can become dangerous projectiles in a car crash. What to do: Secure all cargo, including pets, before driving.
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This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.