A few inches can make a world of difference when it comes to safety, as one photo being shared on Facebook demonstrates.
Heather Starr posted a picture of the bruises sustained by a three-year-old girl in a car accident to illustrate an important lesson about car seats:
As you all know, I am super passionate about proper car seat safety. Here’s an example of why.
This is a 3 year old girl who was just in a car accident. The bruising on her chest is from her chest clip on her 5 point harness. Notice it was correctly positioned on her chest, at armpit level right between her nipples. Clearly, there was some force to that accident. Had the clip been placed lower, she likely would have had organ damage and internal bleeding. Had it been placed higher, she could have been asphyxiated. (The ER doctor she saw confirmed these facts as well.)
Car seat safety is truly that important. It makes me CRAZY when I see kids’ chest clips on their bellies. This is why. This little girl is walking away from a car accident with some uncomfortable chest bruising. A couple inches difference and she wouldn’t have been walking away at all.
It’s. THAT. Important.
Starr makes a good point about proper use of the car seat. Many people make the mistake of thinking that it’s enough to have the child secured in a car seat or booster.
But, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), at least one study found that 72% of car seats and boosters are misused in a way that would result in increased injury if the child in the seat was in a car accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a few recommendations when it comes to fitting a child in a car seat:
For both forward and rear-facing seats, be sure that the straps are flat and not twisted. The straps should come through the slot at or slightly above the child’s shoulders.
When the harness and chest clip are buckled and tightened, the harness should be snug enough that you can’t pinch extra material from it at the shoulder.
The chest clip should be placed at armpit level.
Safekids.org has a checklist for those who want to ensure that they’re not part of the 72% with misused or poorly installed car seats. In addition, you can find a local car seat inspection station here, if you need more guidance in installing or using a car seat.
With summer road trips around the corner, it’s extra important to make sure the kids are safely secured.