ND Has 72 Percent Rate of Car Seat Misuse, Experts Give Safety Tips

All kids younger than 13 should be in the back seat

FARGO, N.D. — The rate of misusing car seats in North Dakota has improved over the past nine years, but it’s still very high at 72 percent.

One of the common things parents get wrong is the tightness of harnesses. See the video for demonstrations.

“You want the harness to be at or below the child’s shoulders, and you want it tight enough that at the shoulder level you can’t pitch any of that webbing,” child passenger safety technician Jody Jordet said.

There are four types of car seats: infant bucket, rear facing, forward facing, and booster seat.

Experts say kids should be in a rear facing car seat through their toddler years. Once a child outgrows a rear facing seat, they can move to a forward facing seat.

“We commonly see this. The kid is like, ‘it’s tight, I don’t like it.’ But this child, with any looseness in the harness, would fly forward and have more movement in a crash,” Jordet said.

“One of the big things we do miss, seats will come in and they look really great, kid might be harnessed in properly, but we do sometimes miss that top tether,” Jaci Witty, community life educator for Safe Kids F-M, said.

Depending on the car, that top tether can be on the ceiling, floor, or on the back of the seat.

“In a van it’s usually around and behind, and give it a nice tug,” Jordet said.

Before a child moves to a booster seat, parents should make sure they’re mature enough to sit correctly and the seat belt will be positioned properly the entire time.

“No kid wants to ride with a seat belt rubbing their neck. So she’s going to stick it under her armpit like that which is incorrect or she’s going to stick it behind her like that essentially making it so she’s riding in a lap only belt. A crash happens, her head falls forward until she hits the front seat,” Jordet said.

According to the North Dakota Department of Health, all kids younger than 13 should be in the backseat.

If you want to have your car seats checked out by an expert, there will be a free event on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sanford Children’s Southwest Clinic.

Categories: Local News, North Dakota News