Police in the Kansas City region have been holding car seat installation sessions to help parents protect their young children in a car accident. These sessions raise the question of just how often car seats are incorrectly installed, putting babies and young children at risk.
Kansas City Police Teach Parents How to Install Car Seats
One of the recent sessions was held on Thursday, June 19, 2018, at a car dealership in Olathe, Kansas. Expectant parents and parents with young children attended to get professional help setting up car seats in their vehicles.
The statistic that was produced during the event, though, was that 9 out of every 10 car seats were improperly installed. Those that are wrongly installed “can actually cause more injury to the child,” one officer said.
Where the officer got his statistics is unclear. While the official statistics are far less extreme, they are still far from acceptable.
Over Half of Car Seats are Misused
According to a study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 59% of car seats and 20% of booster seats are not used correctly. While these numbers are far lower than what the Kansas City police officer mentioned in the installation session, there could be a good reason for the discrepancy: The NHTSA study only counted installations that reduced the safety of the car seat. Therefore, “not every divergence from a ‘perfect’ installation was considered ‘misuse’” in the NHTSA’s eyes.
This could explain the difference in the two statistics: The NHTSA only counts problems that impact safety, while the police consider all installation problems “incorrect.” 9 in 10 car seats might be incorrectly installed, but 59% of them could be done so poorly that they impact a child’s safety.
Most Parents Think They Are Installed Correctly
To make things even worse, most parents think that they put car seats or booster seats into their vehicle correctly. The NHTSA found that 73% of the drivers were either confident or very confident that the safety device was correctly installed. When the seat was inspected, though, 45% of these drivers were found to have at least one problem that could increase the child’s risk of an injury in a car crash.
The confidence level that these parents have is a problem, because they are far less likely to seek or listen to advice on how to properly install a car seat and keep their child safe in an accident.
St. Joseph Car Accident Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
In our next personal injury blog post, we will go over some of the most common problems that people have when they install a car seat in their vehicle. After that, we will discuss the legal ramifications of a poorly-installed car seat through Missouri’s comparative negligence rule, which can reduce the amount of compensation you and your child can receive after a car accident.