Every year thousands of children are seriously injured or killed in car accidents. The sad part is that many of these incidences can be avoided if parents restrain their children in appropriate car seats. Choosing quality safety feature manufacturing, proper installation and taking into consideration your child’s height, weight and age is needed for a car seat to provide the maximum safety protection for your child during an accident occurs.
There is such a wide variety of car seats available on the market that determining which car seat is designed to work best for your child can be difficult. Here are some pointers to consider when shopping for your child’s car seat:
- Infants and Toddlers need to ride in a rear-facing only or rear-facing convertible seat up until they are at least 2 years old or reach the maximum height or weight recommended by the car seat manufacture found in the instructional booklet.
- Toddler- and Preschool-aged children who have exceeded the maximum height and weight for their rear-facing convertible seat should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness until the highest height and weight allowed by the manufacturer is reached.
- School-aged children who exceed the height and weight limit for the forward-facing car seat need to used a belt-positioning booster seat up until the vehicle seat belt fits properly. This typically happens when they are 8-12 years of age and have exceeded 4 feet 9 inches in height. Children should ride in the back seat until they are 13 years of age.
- Once your child is big enough to use the vehicle seat belt, they should also use lap and shoulder seat belts for protection against an accident. Children younger than 13 years of age need to ride in the back seat because it is the safest place.
- Expensive car seats do not mean added safety. Buy a car seat that you and others can install properly every time.
- Avoid used and old car-seats by checking with the manufacturer to find how long the seat can be used.
- Be aware of car seat recalls by contacting the manufacturer, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit the NHTSA website.
Proper installation of a car seat is required to prevent injuries. Car seats can have different installation instructions. Below are some important requirements to keep in mind when installing your child’s seat:
- It is crucial that every car seat be installed using the LATCH system or the seat belt to prevent sudden movement during an accident.
- Follow the instructions of the manufacturer’s installation directions carefully.
- To prevent jerking of the head forward in an accident, the top tether strap on forward-facing seats needs to be tightly connect to the tether anchor.
- Install rear-facing seats using the seat’s angle indicators and adjustors to find the correct recline angle.
Staying informed is staying safe. Register your child’s car seat with its manufacturer, and subscribe to email updates for information about recalls and other important news.
If you or your child has been injured in a car accident, contact the attorneys of Parvey & Cavenago immediately. Your family might be entitled to receiving compensation for damages, injuries and medical bills.