80 percent of car seats are used incorrectly, but inspections are available across Illinois

If you have little kids then car seats are probably part of your daily life, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 80 percent of car seats are not used properly. Car crashes are the leading cause of death in kids between one and 13 years old.

As part of National Child Passenger Safety Week, the Illinois Secretary of State, and local police and fire departments, are offering free car seat checks by certified inspectors across the state. Parents can fill out an online form to apply for an inspection at the closest available location. Inspections are conducted at the Secretary of State's offices, as well as local police and fire stations.

Officials also recommend checking to see if a car seat has been recalled, and registering seats with their manufacturer in order to get notified about any future recalls.

In Illinois, car seat rules going into effect January 1 will also require kids remain rear-facing until they're two years old, although there are exceptions for kids who weigh over 40 pounds or are more than 40 inches tall. Experts say this best protects their heads, necks and nervous systems in event of a crash.

Kids under eight are also required to be secured in a child restraint system, and officials recommend any child under 13 years old stay in the back seat where the are safest.