Parents are making five critical, but fixable, mistakes when using car seats, according to new data announced on Monday by Safe Kids Worldwide and the General Motors Foundation.

With so many safety features now available in both cars and car seats, parents are urged to make sure their kids are getting every advantage by taking the time to do a 15-minute at-home annual checkup.


To assist parents and caregivers, Safe Kids will offer a safety seat check-up from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, September 22, at the AAA office, 195 Oneida street, in Oneonta.

Parents can bring their car, car seat and child to this event. Certified child passenger safety technicians will be available to provide one-on-one “hands-on” help with installation.

“There is nothing more important than the safety of our children, and we’re encouraged by the progress that is being made,” said Mike Robinson, Vice President, Sustainability and Global Regulatory Affairs for General Motors. “To ensure that our children – our most precious cargo – are safe in cars, we recommend parents take 15 minutes to check their child’s car seat annually. Our children visit the doctor every year for an annual checkup, we need to give their car seats an annual checkup, too. A quick home checkup could save a life.”


  • Right Seat. This is an easy one. Check the label on your car seat to make sure it’s appropriate for your child’s age, weight and height. Like milk, your car seat has an expiration date. Just double check the label on your car seat to make sure it is still safe.
  • Right Place. Kids are VIPs, just ask them. We know all VIPs ride in the back seat, so keep all children in the back seat until they are 13.
  • Right Direction. You want to keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible, usually until around age 2. When he or she outgrows the seat, move your child to a forward-facing car seat. Make sure to attach the top tether after you tighten and lock the seat belt or lower anchors. Continue to use a booster seat until your child properly fits in the seat belt, usually when they are between the ages of 8 and 12.
  • Inch Test. Once your car seat is installed, give it a good shake at the base. Can you move it more than an inch side to side or front to back? A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch.
  • Pinch Test. Make sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming from the correct slots (check car seat manual). Now, with the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, you’re good to go.