Nine out of 10 (91%) new parents make potentially fatal errors when fitting childrens’ car seats, according to a new study.
In 2013 135 babies died and 8,500 were hospitalised or sent to A&E after being involved in car accidents.
But a new study suggests that many of us do not know how to protect them in the simplest way - by fitting a car seat properly.
The new research, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, reveals that while car seats can reduce the risk of infant death and injury by 71%, most families make at least one serious error each time they attempt to fit one.
Almost 300 (291) parents with new babies were tasked with installing and positioning a newborn in a car seat, before car safety technicians checked their efforts.
A careful analysis of their errors revealed that 91 per cent of the parents made at least one serious error and a staggering 95% made at least one error.
Fitting harnesses too loosely, the chest clip too low and fixing the recline of the seat at an incorrect angle were some of the most common errors.
Parents with a lower socioeconomic status, those who were less educated. or didn’t speak English as their first language were all more likely to make mistakes.
Researchers say families should work with car seat technicians before leaving hospital after the birth.
Author Dr Benjamin D Hoffman from the Oregon Health & Science University, USA, said: “Car safety seats are much more difficult to use correctly than they should be.
“Vehicle and car seat manufacturers must work together to develop systems that are easier for consumers to use and understand.
“Further, health systems should provide resources and support both before and after birth, especially to the most vulnerable infants, to ensure the safe use of car seats.”