Parents Are Still Making These Key Car Seat Mistakes, Survey Says

Here’s what to know to ensure baby remains safe and secure in their car seat.
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By Nehal Aggarwal, Editor
Published September 14, 2021
mom puts baby into securely installed car seat
Image: Getty Images/Ariel Skelley

Car seats are unsurprisingly among the top-researched baby products by parents. In fact, a new survey from Chicco found that car seats were in the top three purchases parents spent the most time researching, among buying a house and determining what to eat for dinner. Plus, 47 percent of parents registered for or bought baby gear online in the past year, with car seats ranking as the top registry item—and for good reason. The survey found that 42 percent of young kids spent four or more hours in their car seats during a typical week.

The new research, commissioned by Chicco, surveyed 1004 parents with kids aged 8 and younger for Baby Safety Month and ahead of Child Passenger Safety Week, from September 19 to 25.

“With both Baby Safety Month and Child Passenger Safety Week in September, we wanted to shed light on the top factors parents should be taking into consideration when choosing a car seat to ensure children are staying comfortable and safe while on the road,” William Hasse, vice president of marketing for Chicco USA, said in a press release.

While a lot of parents do their due diligence when it comes to learning about car seat safety, the survey found that parents were making some key mistakes. Close to one third (34 percent) of parents were using an older child’s car seat, a hand-me-down from a friend or family member or a used seat bought through sites like Facebook Marketplace. Plus, 26 percent of parents didn’t know that car seats have an expiration date. When it comes to hand-me-down car seats, you always want to make sure you know the car seat’s history, expiration date and whether it has any recalls.

To help parents find the right option for them, Josh Dilts, child passenger safety technician at Chicco, advises the prioritization of three features: ease of installation, child comfort and child fit. The survey found that 55 percent of parents didn’t know of the “inch test,” which Dilts describes as a crucial measure to check if the car seat is installed correctly. Once the car seat is installed, parents will want to pull on it and make sure the seat doesn’t move more than an inch in any direction. He says the instruction manual and any videos can be a great tool in proper installation.

Looking for more information on how to properly install a car seat? Check out these tips.

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