More than 50 per cent of B.C. parents aren’t checking regularly that their kids’ carseats are installed properly, according to a BCAA study released Thursday.
The report suggests two-thirds of parents install their carseats themselves and only one-quarter get them checked by a certified expert.
Parents should be regularly checking the carseat position and condition with the wiggle test:
- Hold carseat at the belt path and give it a side-to-side wiggle. Carseat should not move sideways more than 2.5 cm.
- Look for signs of wear and tear such as frayed harnesses, torn padding and cracks in the shell. Clean out everyday crumbs and dirt from around the straps and buckle.
According to BCAA, a correct carseat for the child’s age and size is crucial, but only 17 per cent of parents are sure their child’s seat is the right size.
While the association says second-hand seats can be used, it’s important that parents know the seats’ exact history. Even if it hasn’t been involved in a collision, it could have been recalled or have expired.
“Just because it looks good doesn’t mean it’s safe,” BCAA community impact senior manager Shawn Pettipas. “Not knowing the full history of a second-hand carseat means parents can’t be absolutely certain of the seat’s condition and this can put their kid at risk.”
Despite that, the study suggests 29 per cent of parents with second-hand carseats admit that they don’t know their full history. Almost one-fifth of parents use them second-hand.
To make sure kids are properly secured, parents should:
- Adjust harness straps to the correct height: Rear-facing (below child’s shoulders) or forward-facing (above the shoulders).
- Fasten both harness strap latches (both have been clicked into the buckle).
- Harness straps should be snug (only room for one finger or less between harness and child’s collarbone).
- Chest clip should be positioned at the child’s armpit level.
To get more information or to find a carseat installation clinic, go to www.bcaa.com/carseats.