A car seat is one of the most important accessories you will buy for your baby. But with so many models to choose from and rules to remember, it is often difficult to know if you are doing the right thing. Before you get ready to hit the road with your baby, you should be aware of some of the most common car seat mistakes parents make.

According to the CDC, 602 children ages 12 and under died as a result of a car crash in the United States in 2014 . Of those deaths, 34 percent of the children were not buckled up. These stats only emphasize the importance of making sure you place your child in a safe, secure car seat whenever you drive. When you're ready to choose a car seat, make sure it's appropriate for your child's height, weight, and age. If you're ever in doubt, it can help to check the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines to choosing the safest seat for your child.

When you are ready to install your seat, read the manufacturer's instructions to ensure you are placing the harness straps, seat belt and tether in the correct position. And be sure to complete and return the registration card that comes with your car seat in order to stay on top of the latest safety and recall information directly from the manufacturer.

Make sure you stay informed on the latest car seat safety information, as it can save your child's life.

1. They Pick The Wrong Seat


One of the biggest mistakes parents make is choosing the wrong seat for their child. According to Parenting, parents should make sure the car seat is appropriate for their child's age, height, and weight. Stay on top of the American Academy of Pediatrics' guidelines as well as your child's growth to know when it is time to purchase a new seat.

2. They Don't Install The Seat Correctly


When you're ready to install your car seat, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and make sure it is secure before you place your child inside. According to The Stir, your child's car seat should not move more than an inch in each direction.

3. They Face The Seat Forward Too Soon


You may want your child to have a forward facing view, but before you turn them around, you need to make sure they are ready. According to Parents, babies should ride rear facing until they are at least a year old and weigh 20 pounds.

4. They Buy A Used Seat

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According to Parenting, buying a used carseat is a bad idea. If you aren't buying the seat with the original packaging, you have no way of knowing if the seat has been in a previous accident or if any of the parts are missing. It is also important to note that car seats expire six years after they are made.

5. They Move To A Booster Too Soon


Just because your child is old enough to tell you that car seats are for babies, don't be so quick to ditch your carseat for a booster. As the Mayo Clinic mentioned, it is safe for a child to move to a booster seat when they are between 40 and 80 pounds. But it's best to keep your child in a car seat as long as possible.

6. They Don't Fit The Harness Correctly


Often, parents make the mistake of fitting the harness straps of their car seat improperly when their child is inside. According to Parents, while they are rear facing, harness should sit at or just below your baby's shoulders. When they face forward, the harness should move to the highest position. Be sure to check the instructions on your car seat to make sure you are fitting the harness straps correctly.

7. They Keep The Harness Straps Are Too Loose

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As Consumer Reports mentioned, your car seat's harness straps should be secured tightly when your child is strapped in. In the winter months, you'll want to remove your child's heavy coat before placing him in his car seat. Cover him with a blanket instead.

8. They Don't Leave Space Between The Car Seat And The Front Seat

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It may seem like a good idea to fit your child's car seat directly against the front seat, but it's actually safer to leave enough space for your hand between the seats. According to The Stir, there should be about an inch and a half of space between your child's car seat and the front seat.

9. They Placing Toys And Mirrors Inside The Seat


As Consumer Reports pointed out, placing toys and other items in and around your child's car seat can be dangerous in the event of a crash. Instead, take advantage of the front seat back pockets.