CHARLESTON (WCBD) – It’s a staggering statistic.
Currently, about 80 percent of all car seats in the nation are installed improperly. The main confusion is really whether children should be belted facing the front of the car or the rear, according to firefighters that install the seats on a regular basis.
Some of the uncertainty is due to federal guidelines that changed in recent years.
There are four options for belting children in the car. The guideline on which position to use is based more on size than age.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says you should keep your child in rear-facing seats for as long as possible.
“Our first two kids were preemies so doctors actually had us keep them in a little longer, and by the time our third child came around the recommendation changed, so we waited,” said Jessica Garrett.
A good resource is your local fire department, which can help with installation of your car seat.
“A lot of the seats will come with directions of showing the height and weight limits,” said Brian Adams, a Mount Pleasant firefighter. “Just follow those, you’ll know when to turn your child forward facing. And anytime you can bring in your seats to us or make an appointment to get it looked at.”
Another reminder, children are not allowed to sit in the front seat until they are 13-years old, regardless of size.
For more on these safety guidelines, visit NHTSA: