Car seat experts say the top tether on a forward facing seat is more important than most people realize.
It's a simple strap, but Ann Brunzell, a registered nurse and car seat technician, says that in a crash it can keep your child from hitting the seat in front of them, something that can happen even if the rest of the car seat seems secure.
"It's probably one of the easiest things to use once you find the location in the vehicle," says Brunzell.
But finding that location isn't always easy, and some parents, like Kearney mom Shawna Bowman, say they didn't even know it existed.
"I guess I knew there was an extra strap there, but I didn't know what it was supposed to be used for," says Bowman. "[The car sear] was in there all nice and secure, but they told me that with that it's even safer for him to ride in."
Bowman isn't alone. Brunzell says less than 20% of parents are using the top tether, and about half of those who do aren't using it correctly.
"Really there's just such a small number of people who are actually utilizing something that can increase the safety of their child exponentially by adding just that simple top tether strap," says Brunzell.
Brunzell says your car's owner's manual should tell you where the top tether hook is, but she says since features are always changing getting help from a trained technician can keep you up to date.
"It could be life or death for you if you're in a crash, and the problem is, none of us knows when we're going to be in that car crash," she says.
With a new baby and her two year old, Bowman says she's glad she didn't wait to get their seats checked.
"I feel a lot safer," she says.
If you have questions about car seats or want to find a technician, visit SafeKidsNebraska.org.