SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Nearly half of all car seats in the United States are not installed correctly.

The Massachusetts State Police is trying to change that this summer with free child car seat installations and inspections. One event took place Tuesday evening at the Springfield Barracks on Liberty Street. According to police officials, one of the leading causes of death in motor vehicle accidents is children not secured safely in their car seats.

If you missed Tuesday inspection, this free service will take place through September 28th at several police barracks. You can also make an appointment with the State Police for an inspection by calling 774-462-3766.

Car Seat Safety:

  • Make sure to check the labels and owner manual to see if the car seat is the right size for your child.
  • Car seats have expiration dates. Check the manufacturer date on the seat label.
  • Keep rear-facing seats as long as possible until your child outgrows the weight and height limits, which usually occurs around age 2 or older.
  • Make sure the chest clip is at armpit level and the harness straps are secured on the shoulders.
  • Store away loose items in the vehicle.
  • Do the pinch test: Pinch the straps vertically at the collarbone. If you can grab excess slack between your fingers and pinch it, the straps are too loose. 
  • Use a top tether in the installation of a forward facing car seat.
  • Make sure the car seat does not move more than 1 inch an any direction when shaken where the belt and anchors hold the seat.
  • When your child outgrows a harness car seat, usually around 5 or older, use a booster seat until they are taller than 57 inches.
  • Keep kids in the back seat until 13 years old.