Amy Orciari Herman, Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH, and William E. Chavey, MD, MS

Nearly all families make serious mistakes when using car seats to bring their newborns home from the hospital, according to a study in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Child passenger safety technicians at an Oregon hospital observed nearly 300 parents positioning their newborn in a car seat and installing the seat in their vehicle upon hospital discharge. Over 90% of parents made “serious” errors, including not using the harness retainer clip or positioning the clip too high or low. In addition, 89% made “critical” errors, such as not using the harness strap or facing the seat the wrong way.

Parents who had older children made serious mistakes just as often as new parents. Those who’d worked with child passenger safety technicians before delivery were less likely than others to make mistakes, although 77% still made serious errors.


The authors call for education of families on car seat installation and infant positioning, noting that it could be integrated into standard discharge protocols by nurses or other trained staff


Journal of Pediatrics article (Free)

Background: Physician’s First Watch coverage of American Academy of Pediatrics 2012 car seat recommendations (Free)