Tips for car seat safety

Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children between the ages of 2 and 14, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But these deaths can be prevented by choosing the right car seat to protect your child.
It's National Child Passenger Safety Week and Rob Wall of Prince William County Fire and Rescue—who is also a car safety expert for Nuna, a baby gear company— told Meaghan Mooney the essential steps to making sure your child's car seat is safe and secure.
1. Selection
Picking the right car seat is the key first step to the process. Car seats aren't one-size-fits-all. In fact, it's important to pick the appropriate type of seat for the size and age of your child. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a detailed list of the four types of car-seats as an online resource.
2. Direction and Location
Make sure that the car seat is facing in the proper direction in your car—some seats are forward-facing, while others are rear-facing. Where the car seat is located in the car is also important. "A lot of people believe the middle seat is the safest," said Wall. But, he noted, that may change depending on factors like the kind of car you have, or if there's another seat in the car.
3. Installation
Like the direction and location of car seats, installation depends on a variety of factors like what kind of car seat you have and what kind of car you have. The important take-away: Every car seat is different and it's important to read the seat manuals closely to make sure you're securely installing the car seat correctly.
4. Harnessing
After choosing the right car seat, situating it in the car and installing it, it's critical that the child is harnessed in the seat. Car seat manuals as well as the owner's manual for the car have the information necessary to ensure that your child is carefully positioned in the seat so it can protect him or her from potential injury.
Wall is also part of Saving Loudon Littles, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the safety of the children in its community by hosting car seat checks and other educational events throughout Loudon County.
Check out NHTSA's website,, to find out where there are car seat checks throughout the U.S.
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