OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center is helping adults keep their kids safe by inspecting children's car seats.
As a part of Child Passenger Safety Week the Children's Hospital is booking appointments and giving free hands-on advice for checking car seats.
On average, three out of four car seats are used incorrectly, but when used properly, it can reduce the risk of an infant dying in a car crash by more than 50 percent.
"Every car seat doesn't fit in every care and every kid doesn't fit in every car seat," said Katie Mueller, Children's Hospital Community Outreach. "We encourage parents to try a car seat before you buy it."
For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers should visit their local inspection station to ensure their children's car seats are used properly:
Birth – 12 months
For the best possible protection, your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
1 – 3 years
Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat's manufacturer. This may result in many children riding rear-facing to age 2 or older. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
4 – 7 years
Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat's manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it's time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
8 – 12 years
Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.
• Select a car seat based on your child's age and size, and choose a seat that fits in your vehicle and use it every time.
• Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer's instructions; read the vehicle owner's manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or LATCH system; and check height and weight limits.
• To maximize safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer's height and weight requirements.
• Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.