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There are common car seat mistakes that most passengers and parents tend to make. Although mounting a car seat may seem simple, it isn’t easy. In simple terms, most children aren’t riding as safely as they need to. 

The good news is that you can prevent the most common mistakes and guarantee your child’s riding is secure by learning a little bit from specialists.

Here Are Some Common Car Seat Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

1. Positioning Harness Straps Incorrectly

If your toddler sits in a rear-facing seat, the straps holding them in place should begin in the back at or below the level of their shoulders.

The straps should begin above or at the back of your child’s shoulder height in a forward-facing seat. 

Children grow quickly. Therefore it’s important to double-check the straps frequently because it’s simple to ignore where they should be placed.

2. Placing Mirrors, Toys, or Other Items Around the Car Seat

what are common car seat mistakes

With your vehicle seat, avoid utilizing any aftermarket products. Occasionally, they have undergone crash testing alongside the seat, and they might alter how the seat functions when a crash occurs. 

In a crash, these objects may also become hazardous projectiles. All loose objects should be kept in the trunk, a console, or a pocket. 

Some manufacturers of child seats create accessories that are made especially for the car seats and are purchased along with the seats.

3. Turning Your Kid Forward Facing Soon

Keep your child rear-facing until they have grown to the convertible car seat’s maximum weight or height restriction. 

Using the incorrect belt path when mounting a seat with a seat belt is another typical mistake. In adjustable seats, one belt path is used for rear-facing and the other for forward-facing. 

Additionally, while pressing on your seat to ensure a snug fit is allowed, avoid sitting or standing on it or pressing the seat down with your foot.

Some parents worry that if their child only has to face backward, they will become bored. Or they worry that they’ll feel sad when they get more aware and can’t see them but can only hear voices.

4. Wearing Heavy Clothes While in the Car Seat

If you’re wearing thick coats, scarves, or padded clothing, it may be difficult for you to adequately tighten the harness, creating a gap in the straps.

Unless it is extremely thin, a jacket causes an invisible gap between the child’s harness and the jacket. Thus, heavy clothes, such as coats, can reduce the harness’s effectiveness.

For kids, you might also loosely cover the top with a blanket, but ensure it doesn’t interfere with the safety adjustments, so they continue to function as intended.

5. Using a Second-Hand or Old Seat

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Used chairs rarely include the manufacturer’s instructions which come in handy in the installation process. 

Also, some parts for used seats can be missing. They may not satisfy current safety requirements, have been recalled due to poor design, or have been involved in collisions (even unseen damage can impact the seat’s functionality). 

Additionally, car seats lose their effectiveness due to component wear over time. Inspect for a sticker on the car seat bearing the manufacturing or expiration date to determine the seat’s remaining useful life. 

Consult the car seat maker; if you can’t find it, you can search for the company on Google.

6. Not Using the Top Tether if Your Car Seat Has One

Most ISOFIX car seats have a cloth strap called a top tether that connects the baby seat to a tether spot behind the vehicle’s back seat. It’s a safety feature that is simple to overlook.

The tether keeps the seat level and prevents it from turning. The strap significantly lessens your child’s and the seat’s forward movement in the event of an accident. 

This implies lowering the possibility of injury, particularly your child’s head.

7. The Incorrect Recline Angle

Although it can be challenging, getting the reclining angle on a rear-facing car seat just perfect is important. 

Babies get weak neck muscles and heavy heads. If the seat is excessively upright, your child may get their chin resting against the chest, which can cause breathing difficulties. 

Because the power of the hit is dispersed throughout the entire body when your child reclines, this will also protect their spine in an accident.

Nowadays, most seats include a built-in indicator that lets you know if they’re mounted at the right angle, which is often 45 degrees. However, it’s crucial to read the manual for your car seat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which car seat is the unsafest?

The back seat is the unsafest car seat. Therefore, the center seat is the farthest from the point of impact and the airbags after a crash.

Which seat has the best chance of surviving a car accident?

The rear middle. Between two and three times more passengers buckled up and sitting in the back middle of the vehicle are likely to survive an accident. Restrained riders are also protected from the abrupt impact of the collision, making chest and head injuries less likely.

What exactly is a seat challenge test?

The seat challenge test determines which babies are most likely to experience respiratory or airway issues while sitting in their car seats. This examination is performed to confirm that your infant is healthy enough to depart from the hospital and return home safely.

How can I determine if my car seat is correct?

Using the Inch Test. When you’ve finished installing your seat, give it a firm tug where the lower anchor or seat belt passes through. A car seat that has been placed correctly shouldn’t budge more than one inch from side to side or front to rear. Make an effort to recall to inspect for looseness after a few months.

Can I place my 1-year-old toddler in a front-facing seat? 

common car seat mistakes

Keep your youngster in the back seat until they are 12 years old. Always place your youngster in a rear-facing seat if they are under 1 year old.

How much time is covered by the “2-hour car seat rule”?

According to many car seat manufacturers, a toddler should not be in the car seat for more than 2 hours in a 24-hour period. This is because a baby’s still-developing spine may be strained if held in a semi-upright posture for an extended time.


Car seats are designed for safety, but in terms of setting up the car seat or securing your child in it, some people find themselves making some common car seat mistakes. 

Simply put, many parents unknowingly make the same errors repeatedly.