COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - You may be using a car seat, but are you using it the right way?
This week, a 2-year-old killed in a car accident in Kershaw County. Officials say the toddler was riding in a car seat, but the wrong kind.
It's the best explanation Kershaw County Coroner David West has for what officials say was a preventable tragedy - after a car crash killed a two-year-old. Now officials want parents to know car seats can be useless if not used the right way.
"A lot of people, and I'm guilty of it myself – is taking one car seat out of another and jamming it in another one and it might not be feasible for that car," says West.
Two Camden firefighters took WIS-TV through the installation process step-by-step. First, attach the lower straps in the behind the car seat to the steel anchors in the crease of a vehicle's back seat. Then, tighten the straps.
Eddie Gardner is the assistant chief with the Camden Fire Department. He says you want "to get it tight enough to where he does not have more than one inch of movement at the seat path of the seat."
Once the seat is in place, the final step is securing the child inside that seat.
"Use the pinch test to see if the harness is tight enough on that child. You want to pinch on that harness. If you can pinch any of that harness up, it is not tight enough," says Gardner.
"That car can do a lot of flipping and hitting and take a lot of punishment. If they're in their correctly, that's their – totally – best chance. I think, if it'd been in a good car seat, we wouldn't be having this conversation today," West said.
You can stop by the Camden Fire Department to make sure your car seat is installed properly. They'll also make sure you know to do this yourself and no appointment necessary.