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Study: Car Seats, Vehicles Not Always A Good Fit

Video courtesy of The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

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-When it came time to buy car seats for her two little boys, Kelly Zimmerman says she was willing to spend whatever it took to keep them safe. But even after settling on fairly expensive seats, she had to resort to this-- using a towel to make one of them level. -I didn't feel comfortable with that solution now. To put a rolled towel under the seat just made me feel a little uncomfortable. -And Kelly is not alone. A new study looking into how cars and car seats fit together suggests that solutions like these might be unsettling, but they are not at all unusual. -No. It's very common. And a lot of the manufacturers even suggest that to get the angle properly is to use something like that. -John Bolte is a researcher at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. He and his team have tested nearly 3,200 combinations of car seats and vehicles. They're finding that back seat designs vary widely, meaning not all cars and car seats are a good fit. -It's impossible just to set the car seat on the car or on the-- on the seat pan and have it match up perfectly. And so, there are some things, I think, we can improve on one. -Bolte says before buying a seat, measure your car first. Pay attention to the angle of the seat, the width, and even things like built-in headrests. -If it's a set headrest in angle, and you have such a tall car seat, the car seat won't sit back against the back of the seat because the headrest is in the way. -Bolte says as long as they are installed properly, most car seats are still safe. But moms like Kelly say they're surprised that it's often up to them to find a way to make the seats level and snug in the first place. At Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center, this is Clark Cole reporting.