Parents still making five common car seat mistakes

by Denise Parrish

“Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent,” said Rene Hopkins, Coordinator of Safe Kids East Central, led by Georgia Health Sciences Children’s Medical Center. “Engineers are working hard to ensure cars and car seats are designed to keep kids as safe as possible. But it’s up to every parent to take full advantage of these innovations by making sure car seats are used and installed correctly.”

In recognition of Child Passenger Safety Week, Safe Kids East Central will hold car seat inspection events from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22 at Tabernacle Baptist Church on Laney Walker Boulevard and at the Fort Gordon PX, 38200 Third Ave. Certified child passenger safety technicians will be available to provide one-on-one help with installation and checking that your child’s seat is a proper fit for the child.

In addition, Safe Kids and the General Motors Foundation are asking every parent to take 15 minutes for an at-home car seat checkup using the following Safe Kids checklist:

  1. Right Seat. This is an easy one. Check the label on your car seat to make sure it’s appropriate for your child’s age, weight and height. Like milk, your car seat has an expiration date. Just double check the label on your car seat to make sure it is still safe.
  1. Right Place. Kids are VIPs, just ask them. We know all VIPs ride in the back seat, so keep all children in the back seat until they are 13.
  1. Right Direction. You want to keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible, usually until around age 2. When he or she outgrows the seat, move your child to a forward-facing car seat. Make sure to attach the top tether after you tighten and lock the seat belt or lower anchors. Continue to use a booster seat until your child properly fits in the seat belt, usually when they are between the ages of 8 and 12.
  1. Inch Test. Once your car seat is installed, give it a good shake at the base. Can you move it more than an inch side to side or front to back? A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch.
  1. Pinch Test. Make sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming from the correct slots (check car seat manual). Now, with the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, you’re good to go.

About Safe Kids Coalition

Safe Kids East Central, led by Georgia Health Sciences Children’s Medical Center, is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury to kids. For more information, call Safe Kids Coordinator Rene Hopkins at 706-721-7606, or visit

About the General Motors Foundation

Since its inception in 1976, the GM Foundation has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to American charities, educational organizations and to disaster relief efforts worldwide. The GM Foundation focuses on supporting Education, Health and Human Services, Environment and Energy and Community Development initiatives, mainly in the communities where GM operates. Funding of the GM Foundation comes solely from GM. For more information, visit