According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents are one of the leading causes for death for children. According to the CDC, there are many ways to prevent these accidents. Proper use of car seats in infants and toddlers can reduce the risk of death by 71%, and 54% respectively. As compared to a standard seat belt, booster seats are able to reduce the chance of serious injury for children between 4-8 years old. The risk of serious injury or death for older children is reduced by half if they use seat belts.
The CDC warns that child restraint systems can be misused. They cite a study in which 72% of 3500 child booster and car seats were used incorrectly. This increased child injury risk. Many parents believe they have the right car seat for their child, but in reality, they don’t.
The CDC recommends that:
Make sure your children have the right car seat, booster seat, or seat belt. The child’s weight, age, and height will determine which option is best.
No matter how short the trip, ensure that your child is properly restrained.
Children should always be seated in the backseat. The safest spot in the car is the middle of the back seat.
- Never place children in front an airbag.
- For infants younger than two years old, use a rear-facing car chair
- Children between the ages of two and five years old can use a forward-facing car seat.
Children five years old and older can use a booster seat until the seat belt is properly fitted. The lap belt should be placed across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt across the chest.
If the seat belt is snug enough without the child being in a booster, then the child can use a belt.
Install and use your car and booster seat correctly. Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians are available to help you if you need it. You can find a checklist from the National Child Passenger Safety Certification Program that will help you prepare for your meeting with a CPS technician and during the car seat inspection.
Always wear a seatbelt and be a role model to your children.
- Requirements for each state
There are laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia that address child seats. Every state has its own requirements regarding car seats, booster seats, and seat belts. It’s important that you know the requirements of your state. In South Dakota, for example, children can be as young as four years old in a child restraint, or as young in a booster seat, while in Wyoming, they must be at least eight years of age. While some states don’t allow rear-seat use, others require that certain ages be in the back.
There are also different penalties and enforcement provisions that can vary from one state to the next. Some states have primary enforcement law, which means that drivers can only be stopped for child seat violations. Secondary enforcement laws are available in some states. These laws require that there be an additional reason for stopping the vehicle. However, these laws only apply to child restraint laws and seat belt laws.
As the CDC statistics show, improper use or failure to use car seats can have serious consequences. In addition, if your child is injured in a car accident, you may not be able to recover damages.
- You might consider seeking legal help for your car accident claim
Nothing is more distressing for a parent than seeing their child seriously hurt or even killed in an auto accident. There are many factors that can play a role in an accident, such as the actions of other drivers and the use of safety equipment (such safety restraints for children). Parents can sometimes be held responsible for not adequately protecting their child. Contact an experienced injury lawyer near you today if you need assistance.