NHTSA Educating on Child Vehicle Safety

Every parent wants to keep their child safe, but nearly every one of them has a story to tell about their struggles trying to get their child’s car safety seat properly installed in the back seat using their vehicle’s specially designed safety devices.  Considering the importance of these safety devices, parents must be properly educated to use them correctly.

While these safety devices have supposedly been designed to maximize safety, they’re not always easy to use. It’s no wonder that a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of Michigan found that parents were able to successfully install child safety seats in only 13% of the best-selling 2010-2011 car models.  This, despite the fact that most of the parents in the study had experience installing the seats and all of them access to the vehicle’s owner’s manual.

An improperly installed car seat can have devastating consequences for a family, as vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of death for children under 14 years of age.  Because of this, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has decided to assist parents in making sure their child is as safe as possible, by providing them with more information on safely securing children in a vehicle.

Part of that effort comes in the form of a new booklet, entitled A Parent’s Guide to Playing It Safe with Kids and Cars. This booklet is designed give parents the basic information necessary to evaluate the safety features present in today’s vehicles, including the proper use of car seats.

The booklet includes an exhaustive list of vehicle makes and models, and rates the vehicles on ease-of-use, which should assist parents in evaluating car seat safety features when they’re shopping for a new vehicle. Almost as importantly, the booklet also advises parents as to how difficult it is to properly install a car seat in their current vehicle.

In the event of an accident, improperly installed child safety seats put children at risk. Careful engineering should make proper installation easy, so the low rate of successful installations clearly suggests that poor design is to blame. The question for car manufacturers is not a matter of “if” but rather a matter of “when” a child will die because a defective auto design caused a child safety seat to fail.

Properly installing a child safety seat in your car is an essential part of keeping your child safe in case of an accident. Installing a car seat should be an easy task for most parents, but that isn’t always the case, because the design of the child safety features in many cars is simply not user friendly.

Awards & Accolades