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(Editor’s note: please welcome Davian Masters with some important information for parents of newborn and infants. Thanks, Davian!)

Baby car seats have been created and especially designed to increase the safety of the youngest travelers in a vehicle. According to some surveys, however, nearly 80 percent of all parents are using their car seat in a wrong way.

What are the most common mistakes that parents make when using a car seat? Is it possible to increase the safety of the baby, even when such mistakes are committed?

Little Knowledge of Car Seat Functioning
Everybody hates manuals and instructions. They use too many words and detailed descriptions to explain something simple and easy to grasp. Further, most of the charts and diagrams presented are more likely to get you confused.

Too many parents fail to understand how the car seat functions. This lack of information leads to mistakes, some of which can be dangerous. The same applies to other relatives who drive the baby to various locations.

To deal with the problem, parents need to be aware of the car seat’s functioning. Relatives and friends should also be instructed. For best results, parents can make a short and effective demonstration.

Lack of Other Forms of Security
The car seat is installed properly. Congratulations! Now your baby is perfectly safe. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

Most vehicles are used for the transportation of various items, including tools, empty cans and other heavy objects. In the case of an accident, these items will fly around. Any of them could hit a baby accidentally.

Such items need to be secured or positioned in boxes, so that they pose no danger to any of the people traveling in the car. Having such dangers lurking in the car will entirely outweigh the safety provided by the car seat.

The Use of an Old Car Seat
Second-hand car seats can increase the danger rather than minimizing the risk. Such car seats could have missing parts or parts that are no longer functioning in a proper way.

Old car seats will also be missing the instructions that are vital when it comes to ensuring the safety of a baby. A number of old items are also considered unsafe by today’s child security standards.

Having the Car Seat Facing the Front of the Car
Babies are growing and their bodies are becoming stronger gradually. This is why keeping the car seat turned towards the back of the vehicle is crucial. Many parents fail understanding how important this step is.

In the case of a sudden and rough stop, the child’s head can jerk forward. If the car seat is facing the front of the car, there will be nothing to offer protection and support. A baby’s neck is tender and such accidental stops can lead to serious head injury.

Responsible parents should keep the car seat facing the back for as long as possible. This practice is recommendable until the baby becomes 12-month old. (Editor’s note: a sharp reader emailed to let me know that recommendations for rear-facing seats are changing. A group of pediatricians is calling for parents to keep children rear-facing until the age of 2 or if they surpass the height and weight requirements of the car seat. Thanks, Mary!!)

Failing to Secure the Child and to Buckle the Child Seat
A baby seat will be effective only if the child is secured inside and if the child seat is buckled into the car.

The baby can easily slip out otherwise. Straps need to be used properly and should be tightened. Reading instructions is of uttermost importance in this situation.

The car seat itself needs to be installed and buckled properly in the car, otherwise it provides no protection whatsoever. Always make sure that the seat is positioned properly and that it remains motionless.

About the Author: Davian Masters is a professional article writer and blogger who has written about babies, parties, and family topics for various websites. To get some baby shower gifts or to check out some baby shower games, visit My Baby Shower Favors.

Photo provided courtesy of ladybugbkt via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who need to install carseats correctly.