Car seats and the safety of children
On behalf of Law Offices of Steven H. Dorne posted in Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents on October 22, 2018.
Ensuring that children are kept safe while in a moving vehicle is right up there with necessities like providing them with food and shelter. Unfortunately, thousands of children are injured in motor vehicle crashes each year, making it the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13 years old.
Different ages mean different safety rules
Buying a car seat and correctly installing it is an important step in decreasing the risks of injury or death. Practicing safe usage of seatbelts is also important for older kids. Parents need to be mindful that one solution that will address all the safety needs of every child.
Different seats are for different sized children:
- Infants & toddlers: These seats have the child turned around so they face the back of the vehicle. Do not turn change to a front-facing seat until the child is the maximum size for the backwards-facing seat.
- Toddlers & preschoolers: Turn the seat around if it is a front-back convertible, or buy a seat designed for facing forward. Keep them in the harness belts until they are too big to use them, or the maximum size and weight recommended by the manufacturer.
- School-aged children: Parents can use booster seats and regular seat belts if the belt fits the young child properly. Use a booster until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall and are at least eight years old. They should remain in the back seat until they are 13 years old.
- Older children: Teach the 13-year-old-and-up teen how to properly adjust their seatbelt for optimum safety, which is snug and not close to the neck.
The proper choice for car seat and safe installation are crucial to a child’s safety. Make sure to follow the installation directions, particularly if you are moving the seat from one vehicle to another – parents may need a refresher. Also, it is important to hook the tether strap on top of seat to the anchor that all modern cars have. Many modern vehicles also have LATCH systems with anchors located between seat cushions that can be used instead of seatbelts.
Precautions are not failsafe
A parent-driver will likely get into an accident at some point no matter how safely they drive. The key is to minimize the likelihood of severe injury or death. It is wise to seek medical help if a parent or child is injured. A personal injury attorney can also help seek damages from negligent drivers to cover replacement of property, medical expenses and lost income, or potential future income of the child.