TUCSON, Ariz. - Travel carrier, convertible seat, combination seat. When it comes to choosing the right way to secure your little one in the car... the options seem to be endless.
"Manufacturers just make seats differently,' says Amaris Vasquez, Tucson Fire Department. "So some have a higher weight limit and it's really, really important to read the instructions."
Check the expiration date
Vasquez says the hot Arizona sun beating down on the plastic, or just normal wear and tear from everyday use can take a toll on the device's durability, so paying attention to labels is crucial.
"There will always be a date when the seat was manufactured," says Vasquez. "And on the seat, it will have an expiration date. Usually it's about seven to 10 years."
Read instructions carefully before installing
The state of Arizona says children need to be secured in a car seat until they are eight years old. But unfortunately, proper installation seems to be an issue for a lot of parents in Tucson.
"91% of the seats we look at are installed incorrectly," says Vasquez. "Either they're installed way too loose, or people are using the lower anchors and the seat belt, or not using the tether at all."
Don't buy secondhand
It's also good to note that experts also say another bit problem that comes along with these seats has nothing to do with installation. It's about where those car seats are bought.
"When you buy a used car seat, you don't know the history of that seat," says Vasquez. "Many times it could be in an accident and then you're unaware of any pieces that may have broken."
Experts say purchasing, installing and using a car seat the right way can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71%. So, if you're imagining saving some cash by using Ebay, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, think again about buying used. Take the time, do your research, and find out which seat is best for your child so they stay as safe as possible.