Car Seats Done Right (Article)

Cars can be dangerous for children, especially considering the vast amount of time they spend in and around them. This fact is borne out by statistics, year in and year out. In 2011 for instance, 148,000 children were injured in automobile accidents. A third of these children were not restrained by a car seat or seatbelt at the time of their injury. Amazing. Intoxicated drivers, poorly installed car seats, and simple carelessness make injuries and death of children in cars mostly preventable. is an organization dedicated to eliminating all childhood, injuries including those sustained in cars. Recently, they identified five helpful tips to help make every ride for your child as safe as possible. Take a minute to memorize these simple tips.

Tip #1: Right Seat– Make sure that your child is in the proper kind of seat for their age and that they match the weight and height recommendations for that seat. Additionally, check for the car seat’s expiration date; it should not be used past that date or if it has been used during an accident.

Tip#2: Right Place– Make sure your child rides in what calls the VIP section of the car for every rid: the back seat until they reach 13 years of age.

Tip #3: Right Direction– Make sure your child is facing rearward for as long as possible. They are usually ready for forward-facing riding at around age 2 years.

Tip #4: Inch Test- Once your seat is installed, give it a shake. If the seat moves more than an inch side-to-side or front-to-back, check your installation. If your seat still moves more than an inch after you have checked your installation, get some help getting it in properly.

Tip #5: Pinch Test– Make sure that after the straps are buckled around your child that it is good and snug. With the chest buckle at the level of your child’s armpit, pinch the shoulder strap to make sure there is no excess webbing. If there is, tighten the straps.

If you have any other concerns about how to keep your child safe in the car and stop preventable injuries, please visit They have more information about safety regarding accidental poisoning, playground accidents, heatstroke, and much more. Education and vigilance are the keys to keeping our kids safe!

If you have comments about how to keep children safe from accidental injury or stories you would like to share, please visit my blog at and share your thoughts. Until next time.

Smo Notes:



Written collaboratively by Catherine Wu and Paul Smolen M.D.