FLORHAM PARK, NJ - With four out of five car seats used incorrectly, The AAA New Jersey Automobile Club, headquartered in Florham Park, which provides automotive, travel, insurance, financial and educational services to its nearly 400,000 members in Essex, Morris and Union Counties, is encouraging parents, grandparents and caregivers to have their child safety seats checked for proper installation and use. According to AAA, it’s the best protection they can offer a child.

To educate parents on the correct use of child safety seat seats, AAA, in partnership with Babies R’ Us, is holding a free car seat check event on May 16, from noon to 3:00 p.m. at Babies R Us, which is located at 98 Route 10 West, in East Hanover.

Nationally-certified child passenger safety technicians will check a child’s car seat to ensure that it has been installed correctly, that it is appropriate for the child’s height and weight, and confirm that it has not been recalled by the manufacturer. Technicians will also educate parents on properly using car seats, from ensuring the harness straps are in the correct position and tight enough to making sure the chest clip is in the correct location.

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Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death for children, largely due to nonuse and misuse of car seats, according to AAA. Child seats that are not properly installed or used correctly won’t protect children as intended during a crash. Making sure children are properly secured in child restraints—every trip, every time—is the best way to keep kids safe in the car, according to AAA.

AAA is urging proper restraints for all vehicle occupants and recommends adhering to these simple guidelines for determining the appropriate child restraint:

Rear Facing Seats in the back seat from birth to at least age two. It’s safest to keep the babies in the rear-facing position as long as possible, maxing out the upper weight or height limits of the car seat, according to AAA.

Forward-Facing Toddler Seats in the back seat once children outgrow the upper weight or height limit of their rear-facing convertible seat. It’s safest to keep a child in a five-point harness as long as possible to the upper size (height and weight) limits of the seat, according to AAA.

Booster Seats in the back seat from about age four, until a child is 4’9” tall (usually between eight-12 years of age).

Seat Belts when a child is taller than 4’9”, the back seat is the safest place for kids. AAA said that they should ride in the back, until they are at least 13 years of age.

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