What are the five most common car seat mistakes?

Choosing the most suitable child safety seats for your little ones and installing them properly can be quite challenging considering the variety of car seats sold in the stores.

What are the five most common car seat mistakes?

To make the right choice that will suit the needs of your baby and yourself, let’s look into the common car seat mistakes made by some parents so you are prepared and do not repeat them.

Which of the following is a common mistake made when installing a child’s car seat?

A reliable car seat might save your kid’s life in the event of an accident. Hence why it is important to pick one of the best ones that were crash-tested and showed good results in minimizing child injuries. The car seat installation according to the instructions and the way you use the seat are also crucial.

1. Choose the correct car seat following the reference of the child’s age

REAR-FACING car seat

Pediatricians advise leaving small children in rear-facing car seats until they turn two years old. Ideally, despite the size of the baby, leave her in a rear-facing seat up until she grows out of it.

Such seats are known for better support of a baby in the event of an accident. It is much safer than forward car seats according to the crash tests because they spread the crash forces evenly across the entire body of a child.

What are the five most common car seat mistakes?

Forward facing seats

From the moment your baby grows out of a rear-facing seat you should replace it with a forward-facing seat, starting at the age of five on average. The safest and also most popular car seats have a 5-point harness system and a top tether.

In the event of an accident, the car seat that faces forward will not support your child’s head the same way as a rear-facing would. So the chance of injuries is higher.

Refer to the car seat manual for the size restrictions of your child to know when can you swap to the next car seat for your little one.

What are the five most common car seat mistakes?

Booster seat

Swap to the booster, which attaches to the car with a vehicle seat belt, when your child turns eight years old. Usually, booster seats are suitable for children between eight and twelve years old.

Moving to the next size car seat

To ensure the safety of your baby, never rush to renew the car seat early. One of the common car seat mistakes is the car seat not being suitable for the age or size of a child. It puts your child at greater risk in the event of a crash. It basically removes the whole point of having a car seat because it doesn’t protect your child and can put him in more danger.

2. Installation of a car seat according to the car seat manufacturer instructions

Every safety seat manufacturer provides detailed instructions for the correct installation of the car seats. Alas, many parents do not follow the instructions and jeopardize their kids’ lives.

Reading a manual

It is important to read the instruction manual carefully so the correct fitment is performed. Every car seat has its own characteristics. All the crash tests are performed with a car seat properly attached to a vehicle and a child buckled in firmly.

The safety of your child will depend on how accurately the instructions are followed.

Car seat facing the wrong direction

Some people make the mistake of not positioning a car seat in the right direction. It happens with many parents who neglect reading car seat manuals. It will take you a few minutes to go through the instruction booklet, but it will protect your child in the long run while traveling.

Correct position of a REAR-FACING car seat

According to the studies, only fifteen percent of convertible seats are installed correctly using seat belts and checking the belt path to ensure car seat safety.

What are the five most common car seat mistakes

For the installation of a rear-facing car seat you will have to:


Start with installing the base of the seat first. Attach the latch anchors onto the back seat of your vehicle and make them tight.


Use the seat belt to secure the base if there is no anchor system in your car seat.


Position the car seat on top of the base. It must click when positioned correctly. Note that the baby will be facing the rear.

Loose installation of a car seat

It is seriously important to use all the accessories a car seat comes with, including the tether. Ignoring the instructions can result in more severe injuries to your child in the event of a crash. The car seat’s harness must be tightened at all times.

3. Harness straps buckled wrong

The car seat harness must be adjusted according to your baby’s size. As she grows, the harness straps will need to be readjusted.

Forward-facing car seats must have the harness straps going at or slightly above the child’s shoulders. Failing to do so might result in your child being at risk in a car seat.

The Chest clip is buckled wrong

The correct placement of a chest clip will result in harness webbing staying at the right level on the child’s chest at the armpit level.

Harness is too loose

If the harness straps are too loose it can be the leading cause of your child flying out of the safety seat in a crash. Always make sure all the belts are tightened. It is advisable to perform a pinch test every time you put your child into a car seat.

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4. Using the wrong accessories not matching the brand of a car seat

Using the car seat accessories that don’t come with your car seat is prohibited unless they were tested with your brand of the safety seat.

You should check with your car seat manufacturer whether they approved the items for your specific car seat or not. In some cases, it can affect the way the seat performs during the accident.

Even the car seat cover has to be either the same brand or manufacturer-approved to match the flammability requirements.


5.  Registering the car seat with the manufacturer

Why would you want to register your car seat? In case of a recalling company for your batch of the safety seat.

The process will take a couple of minutes, you just have to fill in your registration card and mail it or do everything online. Failing to register your safety seat might result in your baby getting serious injuries in case of a crash.

Note that not all recalls are related to car seat safety, but the majority are. Filling out the registration form will ensure you get up-to-date information regarding the state of your car seat.

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Checking the installation with a professional

In addition, it is advisable to consult about the installation of your child’s seat with a professional. Not only can they check that the seat is installed according to the instructions, considering the height and weight limit of a baby, but they will also teach you how to take the seat out of the car and put it back in.

There is a well-known pediatrician group of car safety experts – The Car Seat Lady, that has some very useful information on their YouTube channel. Do not hesitate to refer to them for some helpful videos.

Can I use a second-hand safety seat?

A second-hand child’s seat can only be used if you know for sure that it has never been in an accident. You must also make sure it has not been recalled. One more thing to check is – when do car seats expire. Never use them if it is past the expiration date to ensure the safety of your kid.

What is the most common problem involving car seats?

The main problem is using seats that aren’t suitable for the kids’ age, for example instead of an infant seat using a facing forward one.

Neglecting to place the seat using a seat belt and other safety accessories results in increasing the child’s risk of injuries in an accident.

What is a “pinch” test?

Once you put your child into a safety seat, buckled him properly, and checked the harness going through the correct slots of the seat, it is time to perform the test.

Pinch the strap on your child’s shoulder. If you use a car seat correctly and your baby is strapped properly, you won’t be able to pinch any excessive bits. If you can, that means you need to tighten the straps.



All these car seat mistakes can be avoided. Parents shouldn’t neglect the safety measures when it comes to choosing the right car seats and installing them following the instructions carefully. The risk of making car seat mistakes is too big, it is your child’s life.

Hopefully, this article was helpful. Please share it with your friends and don’t forget to leave a comment below if you have any questions left.

Alice Brooks

Hi!!!My name is Alice Brooks. Here I share my observations and conclusions from my experience and the experience of my friends. First of all, I pay attention to safety and only then to trends. I want to help other parents to choose the right product.

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