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Tips for Protecting Kids in Car Seats

Car manufacturers are required to have at least three anchors for straps that hold child car seats. (Getty Images)
Car manufacturers are required to have at least three anchors for straps that hold child car seats. (Getty Images)
September 18, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- The majority of forward-facing car seats aren't being used properly, despite the strong emphasis on education on the topic, and a desire by parents and caregivers to keep children safe.

Safe Kids Worldwide has launched a campaign called "Take Time to Tether" to encourage everyone to use the strap on the back of a forward-facing car seat that secures the top of the seat to an anchor. Since 2001, every car seat has included the tether, but Lorrie Walker with Safe Kids said a 2016 study showed 64 percent of children were in seats that didn't have the tether attached.

"There's a hook on the end of this special strap that holds the top of the car seat behind the child's head firmly against the vehicle seat so that the child doesn't pitch forward when you stop suddenly or have a crash,” Walker said.

She said the good news is that education works. During research, Safe Kids found parents and caregivers who were told about the importance of the strap were very likely to use it.

The organization offers free lessons on how to properly install car seats and use the straps properly. To find a local site, go to SafeKids.org.

Walker said people often are shocked to learn how much that tether can help prevent serious injury. And she added that it reduces the distance a child's head can travel when the driver slams on the brakes or is in an accident by 4-6 inches.

"And if you think about that in a small car, the child could hit the back of the driver's seat, could hit the console, and could hit other passengers who are also riding in the vehicle,” she said.

The Take Time to Tether campaign coincides with Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs through September 23.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - WY