Parents and caregivers across the United States are urged to make sure child car seats are chosen correctly and installed properly.

The reminder is being issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to coincide with this year’s Child Passenger Safety Week, September 20-26.

“Safety is the Department’s top priority, and we urge drivers to ensure their child passenger is riding in the appropriate car seat and never leave a child in a hot car,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

While most parents and caregivers are confident that they have correctly installed their child’s car seat, almost half (46 percent), have been installed incorrectly.

Throughout the week, Child Passenger Safety Technicians will provide free education on how to use car seats, booster seats, and seat belts. Technicians will help educate families on choosing the right car seat for a child, installing the seat correctly, and using the seat correctly every time. They will also provide advice on registering car seats with manufacturers, and what to expect if the seat is subject to a safety recall. A list of sites that will conduct virtual seat checks can be found here.

“We are dedicated to keeping children safe in our vehicles and on our roads,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens.  “Not only is the proper seat for age and size important, it’s also critical for parents and caregivers to be aware of the danger of heatstroke for children left in, or sneaking into, a hot car.  Remember our campaign – Park. Look. Lock.”

Children dying from heatstroke in cars, either because they were left or became trapped, has increased over recent years. Most hot car deaths — 54 percent — happen when someone forgets a child in a car. So far this year, 20 children have died from pediatric vehicular heatstroke. In 2019, 52 children died, the second most deadly year for pediatric vehicular heatstroke on record, because children were forgotten in or gained access to an unlocked vehicle.

For more information on choosing the correct car seat, click here.