Beaumont Children’s Hospital offers free car seat safety checks at Detroit Zoo Oct. 14

Forty-six percent of car seats are installed wrong or used improperly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Even though parents might have the best intentions and think their children are protected, errors often occur.

That’s why Beaumont Children’s Hospital is offering free car seat safety checks at the Detroit Zoo’s main parking lot from noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 14. No appointment or registration is necessary.

All month long, Beaumont Children’s is partnering with the Detroit Zoo to present Zoo Boo. Beaumont experts are stressing the importance of safety for children around the Halloween holiday.

“Parents should not strap their children into a child safety seat if they are wearing a thick or bulky costume,” said registered nurse Erica Surman, Beaumont Children’s pediatric trauma program manager.

Instead, Surman recommends changing your child into costume when you arrive where you’re going.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death for children, but using a car seat properly can dramatically reduce the risk of death for infants and toddlers.

Experts recommend parents choose the right seat, install it in the right location and ensure it is facing in the correct direction. Selecting the correct seat, whether it be a standard safety seat or a booster seat, can be the difference between life and death for a child, according to the CDC.

“The biggest mistake parents make is not reading the manual,” Surman said. “Everything you need to install the seat correctly is in there. We advise you to read the manual for both the car seat and the vehicle that you will be installing it in.”

The Detroit Zoo is at I-696 and Woodward Avenue in Royal Oak.

If you can’t make it out to the zoo, you can use an online tool to find car seat safety check locations in your area. In addition, Beaumont Children’s offers free safety seat checks throughout the year. Registration is required for these checks.