Child Car Seat Tethers Save Lives, Yet Often Not Used by Parents: Study

New research suggests that many parents and caregivers fail to properly install car seat tethers, which are a critical safety feature, preventing the seats from tipping forward in the event of an auto accident. 

A car seat tether safety study released by the non-profit group Safe Kids Worldwide, indicates that nearly three out of every four parents using a child’s car seat or booster seat are not using the tether straps and anchors that lock the car seat to the vehicles seat or frame.

Tethers involve a strap with a hook that hangs off of the back of a child’s car seat. When attached and tightened to one of the vehicle’s tether anchors, it helps prevent a forward facing car seat from tipping over in the event of a hard braking or crash event that could cause the car seat to be projected forward into the driver or passenger seat.

Did You Know?

Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled

Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.

Learn More

In the event the car seat is not anchored using the tether straps, children could suffer a traumatic brain injury or severe bodily harm if they hit the seats in front of them or consoles.

According to a press release issued in conjunction with the release of the study, Safe Kids Worldwide and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovered many parents lack of knowledge on how to install the devices properly.

Researchers found that 64% of child car seats do not utilize the top tether. Due to the top tether anchors not being in the caregiver’s line of vision in a vehicle, the safety anchors are often easily overlooked. Safe Kids Worldwide encourages owners to familiarize yourself with the vehicle owner’s manual and your car seat’s manual to help identify the recommended safety tips for anchoring children’s car seats.

The NHTSA, in conjunction with Safe Kids Worldwide and with the support of Chevrolet, has developed the Ultimate Car Seat Guide, which gives expert advice on the important decisions parents and caregivers may face when purchasing, installing and performing safety checks on children’s car seats. The guide provides detailed information on how to choose the correct car seat for your specific vehicle, and safety tips on how to fit a car seat and when to move to a new or larger seat as the child grows.

According to the NHTSA, more than 2,600 children under the age of 13 years of age are involved in a motor vehicle crash every day, averaging a child-involved auto crash every 33 seconds.

Although Safe Kids Worldwide found a lack of proper car seat anchoring among those within the study, a separate study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference & Exhibition in Chicago on September 18, 2017, found recent efforts by the NHTSA have made significant progress on child car seat safety awareness.The information presented at the conference indicated the use of rear-facing infant seats increased from 84% in 2009 to 91% in 2015. During the same time period, the practice of placing toddlers between the age of 12 and 17 months in rear facing positions increased from roughly 12% to 61%.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advises children should be placed in a rear facing car seat from birth until three years old, or until they outgrow rear-facing seats. They should be placed in a forward facing seat until they reach the heat or weight limit allowed by the car manufacturer, usually from ages four to seven.


"*" indicates required fields

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories