The Centers for Disease Control says more than 30,000 children under age two are injured in car accidents each year. And more than 500 children are killed. Experts say many of these kids die because their parents don't know how to properly install their child infant seat. has some tips to help make sure your child rides safely.
In a car, one of the most dangerous places for a child is on your lap. The safest place is in a rear-facing infant seat.
Amarjeet Rai, Car Seat Educator/Trainer: "You want to keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible, that actually is the safest for the child."
But "how you install the seat" is critical. According to a new study from Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, eighty-two percent of parents install incorrectly.
Maricela Magdaleno, Mother: "There are a lot of details that are very important, and with only the instruction manual i would have never understood."
And there are a lot of details: for example, the infant seat should not budge during an accident... So when you the pull the belt, lean into the seat so it will be as tight as possible.
Second, kids should ride leaning back at a forty-five degree angle.
Rhird, don't use any pillows around your child, unless they came with the seat.
"But if it does not come with it, then you are introducing more slack into your seatbelt system - it wasn't tested that way, and chances are very good that your baby will suffer injuries because of that."
Finally, keep the straps tight - one finger should fit between the strap and your child. And, make sure the sliding spreader bar is at arm pit level, to stop your child from sliding out of the seat in a sudden crash.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says children should stay rear-facing until they are both one-year-old and weigh twenty pounds.