Researcher: 42% of child car seats not compatible with vehicle seats

Columbus, OH – Nearly half of child car seats on the market are not fully compatible with motor vehicle seats, leading parents to use items such as rolled-up towels or pool noodles to achieve a better fit, according to a soon-to-be-released study from Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Researchers analyzed about 3,600 potential combinations using 59 child car seat models in 61 vehicles. They found compatibility problems in 42 percent of the combinations.

“Car seats are safe and have passed federal regulations,” lead study author and OSU Julie Bing said in an OSU press release. “But, to really optimize the safety of a child’s car seat and provide the best protection for the child, one must make sure it fits properly in the vehicle.”

Bing suggested parents take measurements of their vehicle as part of their decision-making process when purchasing a car seat. The angles of the vehicle’s seat and child car seat should align, she said, and the vehicle’s headrest should not interfere with the child car seat.

The study is scheduled to be published in the October issue of the journal Traffic Injury Prevention.