We all know a car seat is one of the best ways to protect our children in a crash. But what we might not know is that nearly 3 out of 4 of them are not installed correctly.
This is National Child Passenger Safety Week and right now groups all across the country are working to turn those numbers around.
Molly Siebert doesn't mind if her daughter Lucia bounces around on her trampoline. But the thought of her bouncing around in her car seat is terrifying.
“Both my husband and I have had two instances where we got home and they were an, 'Oh my gosh,' the seat wasn't correctly hooked to the car,” Siebert recalls. “And it's one of those you just flash like what could have happened.”
That's why she checks Lucia's car seat before she gets in.
“We do the jiggle test,” Siebert says. “So right now we can feel it's pretty fun so that's good I think you really tighten.”
Trooper Josh Lewis says that's easier said than done since car seat installation can be complicated, difficult and different for every vehicle.
But there are three main mistakes he sees people make the most.
First, the seat isn't secure.
“It’s not tight enough where it connects either with the seatbelt well with the latch system that connects to the car seat or to the car itself,” Trooper Lewis says. “You want to make sure that we have less than 1 inch worth of movement with about the force a handshake.”
Trooper Lewis says the other mistake is that it's too loose. “Obviously we want kids to be comfortable but there needs to be an element of making sure that there's not a lot of slack,” Lewis says.
Another big mistake, Trooper Lewis says, is the car seat clip. “This retainer clip needs to be up at about that armpit level as high up as you can get it but that really causing harm without choking them out right at that armpit level.”
Those are just the top three. That's why Trooper Lewis recommends having a state trooper or someone trained take a look at your set up.
Beyond that both he and Siebert say stay aware.
“It’s a conscious effort every day every trip to think about it,” Siebert says. “ And for families on the go it's a lot but it's important.”
A few extra moments well spent, protecting precious cargo.