(PLEASE NOTE: The Sevierville Police Department is participating in the National Child Passenger Safety Week, which takes place from September 23-29. As part of the event, SPD will conduct a child car seat check-up event on National Seat Check Saturday, September 29. Agencies across the nation will be holding child car seat events on that day. The SPD event will be at the Police Department (300 Gary Wade Blvd.) in the Municipal Complex from 10AM-2PM.)
It is estimated that 46 percent of car seats on America’s roads are installed incorrectly. A car seat that is incorrectly installed will not provide optimal protection in a crash situation, and may put your child’s safety at risk.
While great strides have been made in reducing child fatalities and injuries since the 1970s, over half of children killed in crashes are either improperly restrained or completely unrestrained.
Car seats can be installed with either the seat belt or the lower anchors, and forward-facing seats should always utilize the tether. Seat belts in vehicles made after model year 1996 will have a locking mechanism, which enables the seat belt to be locked to install car seats. This is most often achieved by a locking latch plate or switching the retractor into locking mode in order to lock the seat belt. Lower anchors are standard in vehicles manufactured after 2002, and are generally U-shaped metal anchors that are located in the bight (crack) of the vehicle seat.
Current car seats come equipped with lower anchor webbing and attachments, which when threaded through the correct belt path and securely fastened onto the anchors, create a secure installation for that car seat. While the systems are different, they are equally safe, and it’s recommended to use the seat belt or lower anchors – but NOT both. Most car seats have not been tested with both systems used together, so please consult both the vehicle owner’s manual and car seat instructions for help. Tether non-use in forward-facing car seat installation is one of the most common installation errors, yet correct use can significantly decrease the risk of head injuries in a crash.
For more child car safety seat tips and advice, visit safekids.org. For more information on Tennessee's Child Restraint laws, refer to T.C.A. 55-9-602.