Installing the Car Seat Improperly
Risk: Car seats reduce the risk of a crash-related fatality among infants by 71 percent -- if they're used correctly. Yet studies find that fewer than one in five is. A big snafu: placing a baby in a forward-facing position.
Remedy: Keep your child's car seat facing the rear until she's 1 year old and weighs at least 20 pounds. "If she's turned 1 but weighs only 18 pounds, don't switch the seat yet," says Angela Mickalide, Ph.D., program director of the National Safe Kids Campaign, in Washington, D.C. Never put a baby in the front seat; even a rear-facing infant can sustain serious injuries if the air bag inflates during a crash. Also make sure the car seat's shoulder straps are snug; you should be able to fit no more than one finger between your child's collarbone and the restraint.