Parents Do Not Follow Car Seat Safety Guidelines


According to a recent survey, many parents are not following the car seat safety guidelines. Since it is still Baby Safety Month, we thought it would be a good idea to post these alarming results of this national survey done by Chicco. Sure, we reminded parents last week during Child Passenger Safety Week by reposting our Child Passenger Safety Best Practice Tips, 5-Point Harness Longer and our Chest Clip Trick videos, but we can never be reminded too much, right?!

In conjunction with Baby Safety Month, Chicco USA is releasing the results of a new national survey that exposes common missteps parents make when it comes to car seat safety.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children between one and 13 years old.  To help keep children safe, Chicco, a leader in juvenile products and car seat safety, is shining a spotlight on this issue and urging parents to follow important car seat safety guidelines.

According to the 2013 Chicco Baby Safety Month Survey, the vast majority of parents recognize that the rear-facing position for children riding in a car seat is the safest.  In fact, nearly 90 percent of parents surveyed said they believe their child should remain rear-facing as long as possible.  However, 58 percent underestimate the minimum age at which it is safe to turn their child’s car seat  to forward-facing.

The survey also revealed the alarming statistic that less than one third (31 percent) of parents are following manufacturers safety guidelines as to when to turn their child’s car seat from rear- to forward-facing.  Instead, nearly half of parents (49 percent) choose to turn their child’s car seat based on comfort, rather than safety.  Top reasons parents transition their child’s car seat from rear- to forward-facing include: their child’s feet were touching the vehicle seat (31 percent), followed by their child being too uncomfortable (10 percent) or fussy (8 percent) when rear-facing.

“Children should remain rear-facing as long as possible, according to manufacturers’ guidelines,” said Julie Prom, child passenger safety advocate for Chicco.  “This is the safest way to travel in a motor vehicle.  It is okay for the child’s feet to touch the vehicle seatback or even be crossed in front of the child.  Children are comfortable in many positions, unlike us less flexible adults.  It is when a child is turned forward-facing that they are at higher risk for leg injuries, as well as head and neck injuries.”

The survey also revealed that many parents report that installing a convertible car seat was difficult (19 percent) and overwhelming (40 percent), yet only 15 percent sought out professional help to install it.  In most cases, certified technicians will inspect child car seats free of charge and show how to correctly install and use it.  Parents can find a car seat inspection station by visiting the NHTSA website.

Are you shocked by the results?


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Chicco from September 9-11, 2013 among 533 parents who currently have a child using a convertible car seat.

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Baby Gizmo founder Hollie Schultz is the proud mom of three adorable kids. This certified CPS (Child Passenger Safety) Tech and baby gear expert is the host of the Baby Gizmo video reviews giving moms the inside look at baby products before they purchase them. Hollie is also the co-author of The Baby Gizmo Buying Guide. A former resident of Los Angeles, she and her family now live in North Carolina where she is having a blast designing and decorating her new home.

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2 Comments on "Parents Do Not Follow Car Seat Safety Guidelines"

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Thank you, I was confused as to what age to turn my child’s seat around.

Kerry Acheson
Very timely. I was recently researching harness to booster car seats for my tall 3 1/2 year old and discovered – quite by accident – that if kids are over 40 lbs and using the 5-point harness,the car seat needs to be installed using the vehicle seat belt instead of the LATCH system. My current car seat is supposed to be rated for kids up to 65 lbs – if my daughter hadn’t outgrown it by height, I would happily have left her in it past 40 lbs never even realizing that the LATCH system isn’t rated to take the… Read more »