Any parent will tell you that their children are among the most precious cargo they carry in their automobile. Despite this fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, motor vehicle injuries are one of the leading causes of death among children in the US. More than 121,000 children under the age of 12 were injured as a result of motor vehicle accidents in 2014 and over 600 died.
One of the most important tools to help protect young children when traveling in a motor vehicle is a car safety seat. However, the CDC reports that over a half million children under the age of 12 ride without a safety seat, booster seat or seat belt at least some of their time as occupants in a car. Furthermore, the CDC reports over one-third (34%) of children who died as a result of a car accident were not properly buckled. One of the key issues with regard to child restraint systems is the fact that they are often used incorrectly. The CDC also reports that nearly half (46%) of all car and booster seats are used incorrectly. With that in mind, here are some tips to ensure proper usage.
- Rear facing seats – Children from newborn to age two should be placed in a properly restrained rear facing car seat (in the middle of the back seat when possible). Carefully follow the specifications in the owner’s manual for weight requirements.
- Forward facing seats – Children from age two to five (or the specified weight limits for your car seat) should be seated in the middle of the back seat in a properly restrained forward facing car seat.
- Booster seat – Children who have reached the upper weight specifications for a forward facing car seat (generally age 5) should use a child booster seat until a seat belt lays correctly across upper thighs (not stomach) and chest (not neck). Booster seats should be placed in the back seat of the car.
- Seat belts – Once a seat belt fits the child properly (generally around age seven) they should be buckled in the back seat of the car until age 12.
- Set a good example – Always buckle up when you are in a motor vehicle, and remember that young passengers look to you to be a role model.
The Morrissey Law Firm, PC, is located in Springfield, Missouri, and focuses in personal injury and wrongful death trial work. If you need a personal injury or wrongful death attorney, please visit our website or call (417) 887-0529 to schedule a consultation.