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Seat cushioned: How safe are baby car seats?

Is it the seat itself or how parents install them?
That is the question that plagues the majority of parents and consumer groups, manufacturers and others concerned with the safety of children as it relates to car seats.
The one statistics that is quite sobering and all too apparent when this discussion hits the forefront is that almost 100 percent of parents believe that they install car seats correctly while 75 percent are actually installed incorrectly.
That suggests that the car seats themselves might not be the issue as much as the person or parents collectively that are installing them.
Then again, the same study supports that it might be a combination of the two.

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A consumer report suggested that 50 percent or more of the car seats made available posted head risk injury when they crash tested them. As of four years ago, kids that are two years old have to be in rear facing car seats, and older kids as old as 12 in booster seats until they reach certain age requirements.
So the numbers and the testing of the seats suggest that maybe the products aren't the best and parents and others who are putting kids in car seats aren't doing it correctly.
Seems like a no win situation across the board.
But when you take a closer look, you can ascertain some information from these studies and reports. First, you have to take into consideration the driving habits and lack of defensive driving, which isn't noted in the study.
As far as the car seats and installation, that's when advocacy groups and internet groups come into play as far as how they're installed but more importantly which ones are purchased and if they meet the needs of safety that you'd come to expect.
Any time products are tested, you have to look at which ones because you can't test them all, and even the most ardent reports can be viewed, but you have to do more research as a parent than just one. That begs the question to as to how much time parents spend on researching which car seat to buy on their own time, too. This isn't to say they don't care about the car seat; chances are that's paramount to picking more so than any other product they'll buy for their kids. But you have to wonder if time strapped parents are going to do a whole host of research too. That's why the combination of consumer reports and your own research is key, along with not immediately accepting the first seat you buy. Just because you buy a car seat doesn't mean you have to keep it; if you don't like the looks of it or how it is installed, then take it back.
No product is perfect, but that doesn't mean you can't make the perfect decision as a parent on which seat to buy based on a lot of time put into the purchase.

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