Car Seats and Child Safety

Car accidents are one of the leading causes of deaths among children.

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Negligence in following recommended safety protocols for children while traveling is the foremost concern that results in car accident-related deaths among children. Use of incorrect car seats, improper use of car seats, not using a seat belt for children, incorrect child restraint systems are some of the leading reasons of death.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that correct usage of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts can reduce death risks for infants by 71%, 54% for toddlers, 45% for children aged 4 to 8 and 50% for older children respectively. Their research based on a study of 3,500 car and booster seats showed that an alarming 72% of the restraint systems were incorrectly used, actually risking injury to the child. They also found that inadequate knowledge with regards to buying the appropriate car seat increased the risk of injury. Here are some recommendations for your reference:

  • Use of appropriate car seat or booster seat depends upon age, height and weight of the child.
  • Regardless of distance, correct use of child restraint systems is a must.
  • Children should always sit at the back; the middle seat in the back is typically considered the safest.
  • A car seat facing the airbag increases risk of injury.
  • Infants under the age of two should sit in a rear-facing car seat, whereas, a forward facing seat is generally best for toddlers aged 2 – 5.
  • Children above five should sit on a booster seat, until the belt fits correctly (with the lap belt across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt across the chest).
  • Read the instruction manual of the car seat / booster seat thoroughly, to ensure proper installation and correct usage. If unsure, request the assistance of certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians. The National Child Passenger Safety Certification Program has a preparation checklist for meeting with a CPS Technician, and the car seat checkup process details.

State Based Laws for In-Car Child Safety

All the US states have set laws around child safety with regards to car seats. The rules, laws, and standard procedures differ from state to state. As parents, it is essential to know your state’s laws surrounding car seat safety. While traveling long distances, you should look up the car seat safety laws of the state you are traveling to. For example, some states have no set preferences for using a rear facing seat, while some states require children to be seated in the back seat only.

The fines and provisions surrounding the enforcement of the laws also differ from state to state. In some states, child car seat violations fall under primary enforcement laws, which mean that cars can be stopped for simply violating child car seat laws. In some states, car seat laws are secondary enforcement laws that need an additional reason, apart from car seat violations, for cars to be stopped on the road.

Either way, the consequences of improper is of car seats, incorrect child restraint systems and negligence are dire. If your child has been injured in a car accident, you could become legally responsible and liable to a full probe conducted by the authorities on the causes of the injury to the child.

St. Louis Car Accident Lawyers

If your child has been injured in an accident caused by another person, speak with experienced St. Louis car accident attorneys at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can evaluate your case for free and help you determine if you are entitled to compensation from the party at-fault. Call (314) 361-4242 to schedule a free consultation.

Updated: November 9, 2018