Study Shows Car Seat Errors Exist Despite New Technology

by Carmen Dellutri on November 27, 2012

Fort Myers personal injury attorneyNew technology, such as Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) systems, is intended to make it easier to install car seats. However, a recent AAA study reveals that mistakes are still far too common. As Fort Myers injury attorneys, we are concerned by the findings, particularly since a properly installed car seat is the best way to protect small children in a serious crash.

The AAA study surveyed Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs), who are certified to inspect and properly install car seats, about the most common mistakes they see. Nearly three quarters of CPSTs reported observing parents misusing the LATCH system more than half of the time, according to AAA’s press statement.

CPSTs also observed well-intentioned parents using all types of everyday items, from bungee cords and plywood to zip ties and shoelaces to secure car seats. “Not only do these common items interfere with proper installation,” Jennifer Huebner-Davidson, manager, Traffic Safety Advocacy, cautioned, “but they can become projectiles in the event of a crash.”

Below are other common errors identified in the AAA survey:

  • Using LATCH in the rear-center seating position when not permitted by the vehicle manufacturer. Many parents make the mistake of using the inner anchor for each outboard seat to install a car seat in the center seat using LATCH.  If the vehicle does not support a LATCH installation in the rear-center seat, use a seat belt to secure the car seat, or move the car seat to an outboard seat. Be sure to always consult the vehicle owner’s manual before installing a car seat in any vehicle.
  • Using both the seatbelt AND the LATCH system to install the car seat. While parents may think using both the seat belt and the LATCH system will provide additional protection, the opposite may be true.  In the event of a crash, belts are designed to expand and absorb crash forces.  If both systems are used, the crash forces may be distributed improperly, resulting in injury or death.
  • Using the wrong belt path with the LATCH attachments to install the car seat. Convertible car seats have belt paths for both rear-facing and forward-facing installations.  When installing the car seat, consult the car seat manufacturer’s instructions to determine which belt path to use.  Selecting the incorrect belt path will leave the seat improperly secured.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Fort Myers accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Fort Myers injury attorneys for a free consultation.

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