10 Car Seat Mistakes Parents Accidentally Make

A research report published by MIROS indicates that in 2011, children aged 1-4 years old (43.8%) and 5-9 years old (30.2%), are the first and second leading groups of casualties; they died as occupants travelling in private vehicles such as car, van, 4WD. 

survey published in the Malaysian Journal of Public Health Medicine 2016, on the other hand, states that younger guardians are said to be far more aware of the importance of CRS. These younger guardians were mostly university graduates and they were 1.5 times more likely to use CRS for their children. 

The survey was conducted to address guardians on CRS (Child restraint system) usage, respondents in Kuala Lumpur. The survey concludes that the awareness of its importance and its benefits were attributable primarily on where the parents were, their level of education, as well as their age.

If you’re a parent with young children, and you own a car and you often travel with your child, please, get a car seat. Not any car seat but the right one for your child. Got your car seat already? Great! Below is a list of 10 car seat mistakes parents always make:

1) Picking the wrong seat for your child’s age, height or weight

Do your research. Do some more. Once you’ve bought the car seat, check the manual and don’t forget to measure your child’s growth periodically. And never, never buy a used car seat. Car seats generally have expiration dates six years after manufacturing. You don’t know what those used car seats have gone through. Maybe they have been through accidents.

2) Not installing your car seat correctly

Read your car seat’s manual as well as your car’s manual. Decide whether you will use the lower anchors or a seat belt. If you are using seat belts, figure out if yours are self-locking. If you’re using the lower anchors, make sure you are using the proper anchors for the seat position you have chosen in the car. When you’re done, hold the seat where the vehicle or latch belt is holding it and give it a good tug.

3) Not getting professional help

If uncertain, find the nearest certified technician and have them install the car seat for you. A car seat is a serious high-level piece of safety equipment. You shouldn’t be ashamed of seeking help.

4) Fitting the harness incorrectly

The harness should be tight enough that you can only fit one finger between your child’s collarbone and the harness strap. The chest clip should be even with the armpits. Also remember, children should not be wearing bulky clothes like jackets when they ride in their seat.

5) Facing your child forward too soon

It’s unsafe if your child’s legs are touching the back seat of the car, or even bending so they’ll fit.

6) Not using the tether

Using the tether decreases how far the child’s head moves forward by four to eight inches with a properly installed car seat. All forward-facing car seats should be tethered to the proper anchor for the car seat’s position in the car.

7) Getting rid of the booster too early

A lot of parents give in to peer pressure from other parents to take their kids out of the booster because more kids can fit in a car without them. And since seat belts are designed for people who are at least four feet and nine inches tall, that may not be until your kid is 10 to 12.

8) Parents not wearing their seat belts

Set a good example to your kids, whether you’re riding in the front or back seat. Wear your seat belt and make sure everyone in the car is wearing theirs.

9) Not using the car seat every time

Your kid’s safety is more important than saving a little time. Make sure your kids are in the car seat every time you drive.

10) Letting kids sit in the front seat too soon

Keep kids 13 and under safely buckled in the back seat, no exceptions.


Devitt, M. (2018, September 21). AAP Updates Car Safety Seat Recommendations for Children. Retrieved from https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20180921kidscarsafety.html

Iannelli, V. (2020, February 3). Do You Understand the Latest Car Seat Guidelines? Retrieved from https://www.verywellfamily.com/car-seat-guidelines-2633328

Durbin, D. R., & Hoffman, B. D. (2018, November 1). Child Passenger Safety. Retrieved from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/142/5/e20182460

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Editorial Team
Editorial Team
We take our responsibilities seriously as a provider of free parenting resources. Our published articles are therefore written based on evidence-based information parents can rely on. Parenthood is hard. But it’s also the most rewarding. Our first goal is thus to make sure our content is concise, accurate and accessible.