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Anisa Arsenault
Assistant Editor

The Car Seat Mistakes Parents Make Before They Leave The Hospital

We say it all the time: Car seat installation is hard. And we're not saying that to make you feel better about your struggle. It's literally difficult for almost all new parents out there; a new study found 95 percent of parents make at least one mistake while installing the car seat.

The study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, surveyed 291 families being discharged from the hospital with a healthy newborn. Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University asked parents to position the newborn in the car seat—and install the seat, if they hadn't already. After the parents were done, certified car seat safety technicians evaluated mom and dad's handiwork, noting and correcting any errors.

Here are the most common errors they found:

Loose harness

Low chest clip

Incorrect recline angle

Overall incorrect installation

About 95 percent of families made at least one error when installing car seats on their own. And of the 15 percent of parents who worked with a certified car safety technician, 83 percent still had at least one error.

Researchers weren't exactly pleased with these numbers. "Car safety seats are much more difficult to use correctly than they should be," says lead researcher Dr. Hoffman. "Vehicle and car seat manufacturers must work together to develop systems that are easier for consumers to use and understand. Further, health systems should provide resources and support both before and after birth, especially to the most vulnerable infants, to ensure the safe use of car seats."

We have come across some car seat configurations that are easier to install than others. The Urbini Petal comes equipped with a level indicator and seat belt lock-off right in the base for a tighter, more accurate fit. And the Nuna Pipa features a steel stability leg for an extra secure backseat fit.

PHOTO: Shutterstock