Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death among children, and 300+ kids are injured every day while riding in a vehicle. According to studies from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, children that ride in age and size appropriate car seats and safety restraints reduce their chance of serious injury or death by more than 50%. Our lawyers believe every parent should have access to resources that will help keep their kids as safe as possible, and that is why we put together this guide to proper safety restraint usage over the various stages of your child’s life:
0-12 Months-Every child under one-year-old should be riding in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat of the vehicle. There are three main types of rear-facing car seats: infant-only seats, convertible car seats, and 3-in-1 car seats. Infant car seats can only be used safely in the rear-facing position, while convertible and 3-in-1 seats may feature higher weight and height accommodations to allow you to keep your car seat longer.
1-3 Years Old-It’s important not to rush into buying a front facing car seat as soon as your child reaches the age of one. Remember that the height and weight requirements are what matter, not the age; rear-facing seats are the best way to keep young kids safe until they are physically able to use a forward-facing seat with a harness. Only once your child has outgrown his weight and height should you make the switch to a front facing car seat.
4-7 Years Old-Again, try to keep your child in a car seat as long as possible. Once your child has outgrown his or her second car seat, it is okay for them to travel in a booster seat that will protect them. Seat belts are often too big for young kids; instead of the shoulder harness being at the chest, it is closer to the neck, which can be very dangerous in the event of an accident.
8-12 Years Old-As we alluded to in the previous section, for a seat belt to keep a child safe, the lap belt must lie across the upper thighs, not the stomach, and the shoulder belt should be snug against your child’s shoulders and chest. Even when your child reaches this stage, it is still safer for them to be seated in the backseat. (National Safety Council, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; SaferCar.Gov)
And last but not least…
Register Your Car Seat or Booster Seat at SaferCar.gov-As is the case with cars, child safety restraints are occasionally recalled because of defects. By registering your car or booster seat at SaferCar.gov, you will be able to receive up to date information on the status of your child’s restraint, ensuring they are as safe as possible.
Our Chicago car accident lawyers understand that a child being injured in a traffic accident is a nightmare scenario. These cases put children and families through unimaginable physical, emotional and financial burdens, and that is why choosing the right law firm is so important. Since 1992, our attorneys have successfully recovered more than $520 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients, and we will fight for your right to compensation as well.