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Vehicles are one of the most dangerous places for kids, with motor vehicle crashes remaining among the top causes of death for children of all ages. If you have an infant or young child, you may already have a routine in the place intended to prevent you from forgetting your child in the backseat, a tragic scenario with could result in fatal hyperthermia.

Checking the back seat for the presence of your child before you park and leave your vehicle is one way to prevent a tragedy from affecting your family. However, checking your car seat before you pull out of your driveway is equally important, if not for the same reason.

Many families have not properly installed their child car seat

At first glance, a car seat seems like a pretty simple device to manage, but with multiple latches and systems available to secure it in a vehicle, people can make mistakes. An improperly installed car seat will offer minimal protection to the child it contains.

Researchers have found over half of all car seats are improperly installed and that 64% of the car seats they evaluated had the same mistake affecting their performance. Almost 2/3s of all car seats won’t have the top tether properly latched to a secure point in the vehicle or used at all. The tether helps keeps the seat in place during a crash. Without it, your child’s seat could topple forward or even get thrown from the vehicle, possibly with tragic results.

Checking to make sure that the top tether and all latches have been fastened and properly secured before you start your vehicle could be the difference between life and death for your child.

Having a car seat for each vehicle may be well worth the investment

Even if you have professionals assist you with the installation of your car seat when you first bring your baby home from the hospital, every time you move the car seat or the base for a clicking interchangeable seat system, you run the risk of making a mistake in the installation process.

While it may seem like an unnecessary expense to have an extra base for your spouse’s vehicle or a second car seat, that expense is negligible when you consider the protection it offers. The fewer times that you move your car seat, the less likely you are to install it improperly.

Proper restraints are critical to protecting your children from injuries in a car crash. There have even been cases where parents have face criminal charges as the result of improperly installed car seats in the past. Investing in the second car seat or taking the time to check the restraint system before you drive can protect your child and you.