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Five tips for performing a car seat checkup - WellSpan Health

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Five tips for performing a car seat checkup

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

“Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent,” said Joe Anne Ward-Cottrell, Safe Kids York County Buckle Up chairperson and Community Health Improvement educator.

“We want parents to make sure their car seats are used and installed correctly, and that the entire family is buckled up every time on every ride.”

Ward-Cottrell lists the top five things to do for a car seat checkup:

  • Right Seat. Check the label on your car seat to make sure it’s appropriate for your child’s age, weight and height.
  • Right Place. Kids are VIPs, just ask them. We know all VIPs ride in the back seat, so keep all children in the back seat until they are 13.
  • Right Direction. You want to keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible, usually until age two. When he or she outgrows the seat, move your child to a forward-facing car seat. Make sure to attach the top tether after you tighten and lock the seat belt or lower anchors.
  • Inch Test. Once your car seat is installed, give it a good shake at the base. Can you move it more than an inch side to side or front to back? A properly installed car seat will not move more than an inch.
  • Pinch Test. Make sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming from the correct slots (check car seat manual). Now, with the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, you’re good to go.

Parents can call Safe Kids York County at 1-888-232-SAFE with questions about child passenger safety and for a listing of agencies that offer assistance with car seat installation throughout the year.

Additional tips on car seats and booster seats can be found at

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