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Are you using the right car seat for your child?

Morgan Aguilar
November 14, 2017 11:37 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Even if your child is buckled up, they might not be safe.

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Earlier this month the Washington Post released a list of the five worst car seat mistakes parents are making.

After checking it out, Sandi Orlando with Safer New Mexico Now said none of them surprised her.

"We see that all the time," Orlando said.

Number one on the list is promoting your child too soon.

"That's moving the child maybe from rear-facing to forward-facing too soon, or taking them out of the forward facing seat and putting them in a booster," Orlando said.

She recommends waiting as long as possible to graduate your child to the next type of seat, which falls in line with the second-worst car seat mistake on the list: Parents following state law instead of federal recommendations, which Orlando says tend to be more strict.

For example, New Mexico law says children less than one year old must be placed in a rear-facing car seat, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a rear-facing seat until children are at least two, or until they reach the height and weight limit set by the manufacturer.

Orlando said Safer New Mexico Now recommends parents wait even up until the age of three to move them to the next seat.

The third-worst mistake is as simple as parents not reading the manuals of both their car and the car seat. 

"The owner's manual of the vehicle will tell you the appropriate location for the car seat depending on where the air bags are," Orlando said.

Mistake number four is passing up free help from places like Safer New Mexico Now, which teams up with the New Mexico Department of Transportation to offer free resources all over the state, as well as online. Through the New Mexico Child Safety Seat Distribution Program, they’re able to offer replacement seats to many New Mexico families at little to no cost.

They also offer free fitting stations and clinics all over the state.

Finally, the Washington Post says parents are not considering where the seat has been, especially if it was bought used or passed on to a family member.

"If it's been in an accident you certainly want to replace the seat, and if you don't know the history," Orlando said.

She added it’s important to check the expiration date on the car seat.

You can learn more about Safer New Mexico Now’s resources and make an appointment with a technician to ensure you have the right seat for your child here. 

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Morgan Aguilar

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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