Car seats must be installed properly

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety says child car seats are not as safe as you think. Experts say the most important thing is to get your child fit securely into the right car seat.

When choosing a car or booster seat, the more expensive options may not be the best.

"It doesn't really matter how much the seat costs, it matters of how it fits your child and how it fits in your vehicle," said Wendy Nash, Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.

A free safety inspection by a certified technician could keep your child safe.

"Three out of four child safety seats are installed or used incorrectly. That puts children at injury or death should there be a car accident," said Nash.

Before you drive away make sure your child's car seat is the right one for them.

Nash says car seats should not be bought used unless they are from someone you know and trust.

"Most crashes that take a child to the hospital, you should not use that safety seat. There could be unseen fractures wrong with the seat that may make it unsafe the next time it is used," said Nash.

Harnesses will deteriorate over time so it is very important to check the side of the seat at the stickers for an expiration date.

"As long as it is not expired, as long as it has all its parts and pieces, and the only way you are going to know that it has all its parts and pieces is to get it inspected by a certified technician," said Nash.

One way to make sure that you know about any recalls on your baby's car seat - is to fill out the recall form right after you buy it. 

Then the manufacturer knows how to reach you to tell you of any safety concerns.

South Bend's Central Fire Station conducts car seat checks.

Memorial Hospital of South Bend also offers car seat safety inspections free of charge. To schedule an appointment, please call 574-647-1804. Spanish speakers may call 574-647-6796 or 574-647-1369.

Please email Teresa Sleeter at with any questions or visit their website for more information.

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