6 Child-Safety Errors Parents Make in Cars

Make sure the lap portion of a seatbelt fits across a childs hips, not their abdomen, before switching them out of a booster seat.
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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.

1.
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.

2.
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.

Read More From Bankrate: Top 6 'active' car-safety features

What to do: Make sure the seat doesn't move more than an inch. Check the harness straps to ensure they are snug.

3.
Mistake: Turn a child forward-facing too soon.

Why: Young children are better protected in a car crash in rear-facing seats.

Read More From Bankrate: 5 cars loaded with safety features

What to do: Wait until a child is age 2 to turn him or her forward-facing.

4.
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.

5.
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.

6.
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.

Read this story on Bankrate.com.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

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