NHTSA Launches Car Seat Finder Tool

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a new Car Seat Finder Tool, adding the ability to look up car seat recalls on its mobile app, and reminding parents and caregivers to register their child’s car seat through its new campaign – “Don’t Delay. Register Your Car Seat Today.” Statistics show that a child under the age of 13 is involved in a crash every 34 seconds and more than a third of the children who are killed in crashes were not properly restrained (either in car seats or wearing seat belts). NHTSA’s new Car Seat Finder Tool is designed to help parents select the right car seat or booster seat for their child.  Additionally, the campaign is a reminder of the importance of registering car seats in order to receive important safety recall notifications. “Safety is our highest priority, and our new tool and registration campaign are two more ways we’re working to protect our most vulnerable passengers — our children,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Parents and caregivers are the first line of defense by ensuring they are selecting the right car seat, registering it, and using it correctly for every trip.” Millions of Car Seats Have Been Recalled In 2014, NHTSA pushed manufacturers to recall more than 7.4 million car seats with defective buckles to ensure that owners received a replacement buckle at no cost. However, on average, only 40% of car seats get fixed.  By comparison, on average 75% of light vehicles (passenger cars and trucks) subject to a manufacturer’s recall are repaired.  It is thought that a primary reason for the difference is that registration of light vehicles is required by law. The NHTSA campaign urges caregivers to register their car seat so manufacturers know how to notify customers in the event of a recall so that they can receive the free fix. The agency’s Parent Central site allows parents and caregivers to select their manufacturer or brand of car seat and directly links them to the manufacturer’s registration page. In addition, the agency encourages people to utilize the updated SaferCar app which now allows users to search for car seat recalls, in addition to vehicle and tire recalls. The SaferCar app also provides information on where people can go for help in installing their car seats. NHTSA offers parents and caregivers the following safety tips:
  • Utilize NHTSA’s Car Seat Finder Tool to determine the right seat for your child based on age and size.
  • Read the instructions and labels that come with your child’s car seat and read the vehicle owner’s manual for important information on installing the seat in your particular vehicle.
  • Register your child’s car seat with the manufacturer to ensure you receive important safety recall notifications.
  • If your child’s car seat is subject to a recall, contact the manufacturer and follow their guidance to receive a free fix for your seat.
  • Go to your local car seat inspection station to have your seat checked by a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.
  • Use the lower anchors and tethers for child restraint systems or seat belt to install your car seat and use the top tether to secure forward-facing car seats.
  • Be sure all children under 13 years are seated and properly restrained in the back seat.
  • Always wear your seat belt to set a good example. Unbuckled drivers are more likely to have unrestrained children in the car.

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