Each year, thousands of children are involved in motor vehicle accidents. In many cases, collisions are caused by another driver’s negligence, which can result in devastating injuries or the death of a child. Some accidents are so severe that even the proper child safety restraints cannot prevent tragedy. However, in most circumstances, car seats can make a difference in saving lives.

Register Your Car Seat to Keep Kids Safe

As best as parents try to keep children safe in cars, child safety restraints are sometimes found to have design or manufacturing defects and are subject to recalls. In 2014 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had 7.4 million car seats recalled as a result of a defective buckle on the car seats.

Unfortunately, many parents are not properly notified when a car seat has a defect. As a result, they are unable to get the essential repairs made. When a car seat defect leads to a recall, statistics show that only around 40 percent of people actually get the necessary repairs. To help ensure parents are properly alerted to a car seat problem, the NHTSA has been promoting an initiative called “Don’t Delay – Register Your Car Seat Today.”

Registering on the NHTSA’s new website, Parent Central will make it possible to receive proper notification so you can get repairs if there is a problem with your child’s car seat. Parents can also use other NHTSA tools such as the Car Seat Finder to identify the right car seat for their kids. To use this tool, simply input a child’s date of birth, age and weight.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for children. Car seats are proven to have a major impact on a child’s safety in a motor vehicle, so it is vital for parents to stay abreast of car seat safety. For example, for a child aged one and under, the proper use of a car seat can reduce the risk of a fatality by 71 percent. For a child between ages one and four, the use of a car seat can reduce the risk of a fatality in a motor vehicle collision by 54 percent, and for a child between the ages of four and eight by 45 percent.

For a car seat to have safety benefits, it must work effectively. By taking advantage of the safety tools that are available, parents can take steps to fix their car seats and reduce danger for their children before a disaster happens.