ROAD TO ZERO

5 Common Mistakes Parents Make When Installing Car Seats

Sep 20, 2018, 8:21 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Only 6 out of 10 parents install car seats correctly and only 20 percent read the instructions beforehand, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety.

Hanna Kunkes always makes sure her youngest, Kaia Murphy, is buckled in her booster seat before karate practice. She knows all too well the benefits of buckling up.

In 2011, Kunkes was in a terrible crash with her 3-year-old and 11-month-old baby.

“I did not know where I was or what was happening. I was just like, ‘Where are my kids?’” Kunkes recalled.

Her oldest daughter, Braelynn Murphy, remembers the experience.

“It was super scary!” she said.

Kunkes credits their lives to car seats.

“Firefighters just unbuckled their car seats and moved them in their car seats into the fire truck,” she explained.

Simply using a car seat isn’t always enough. Keri Gibson, a child passenger safety instructor at the Utah Department of Public Safety, said parents often don’t use car seats the right way.

“Parents might think that they’re small, but they can actually result in severe injury or even death,” she said.

Keri Gibson with the Utah Department of Public Safety encourages parents make sure their child’s seats are properly installed.

Gibson said the most five common errors include:

  1. The harness shoulder strap is in the wrong place. If the child is rear facing it should originate at or below the child’s shoulders. If the child is front facing it should originate at or above the child’s shoulders.
  2. The harness chest clip is too low. It should be armpit level.
  3. The child safety seat is too loose. It should not move side-to-side or front-to-back.
  4. The harness strap is too loose. It should fit snug and tight.
  5. The lap and shoulder belt are improperly placed for children in booster seats. It should fit over the stronger parts of a child’s body.

Gibson also encourages parents to make sure the car seat is facing the right direction.

“We want to make sure that those children remain rear facing as long as that seat allows,” she said.

The Utah Department of Public Safety said only six out of ten parents install car seats correctly and only twenty percent read the instructions beforehand.

Last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its recommendation encouraging children to remain in a car seat until they reach the seat’s weight and height limit rather than the previous recommendation of simply turning 2 years old.

Gibson urges parents to check the seat’s instruction manual before transitioning to a new car seat.

“I don’t know what it would be like to gotten hurt or lost my life, or even lost my little sister. As much as she’s annoying, I love her so much and I’m grateful,” Braelynn Murphy said.

The Utah Department of Public Safety is hosting car seat checkpoint stations across the state next week for Child Passenger Safety Week during September 23-29. Safety experts invite parents to have their child’s car seat inspected and to learn how to buckle their kids the right way.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Road to Zero

I-80 lanes closed after crash...
Cary Schwanitz

Crash closes westbound I-80 near Echo Reservoir

The Utah Department of Transportation said the westbound lanes of I-80 near Echo Reservoir south of I-84.
20 days ago
(Clayre Scott)...
Josh Ellis and Shara Park, KSL TV

Woman in wheelchair dead after being hit by cement truck in Logan

A woman died Friday morning after a cement truck hit her as she crossed Logan’s Main Street in a motorized wheelchair, according to police.
1 month ago
A 17-year-old girl, who later died from her injuries, was hit by a pickup truck on Oct. 25 while wa...
Jed Boal

UHP and ER doctor: Motorists, pedestrians need to work together to reduce fatalities

Utah is on pace to set the annual record for the greatest number of fatal auto-pedestrian crashes.
1 month ago
Tomas Fernandez was riding his scooter Tuesday to class at Ensign College when the car hit him whil...
Karah Brackin

Salt Lake man on scooter says driver hit him at a crosswalk and took off

A Salt Lake City man who was injured when a vehicle hit him while riding his scooter is on the road to recovery.
2 months ago
National Teen Driver Safety week is underway. (KSL TV)...
Karah Brackin and Cary Schwanitz, KSL TV

Teen Driver Safety Week focuses on safe driving conversations

A nationwide campaign designed to encourage parents to talk to their teens about the rules of the road is underway.
2 months ago
...
Ayanna Likens

Utah sees rise in auto-pedestrian crashes

An alarming concern on Utah roads — a rise in auto-pedestrian crashes, including three that happened within the last 24 hours.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
5 Common Mistakes Parents Make When Installing Car Seats