According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during 2012 there were 33,561 traffic fatalities in the United States. Of these, children ages 14 and younger accounted for three percent, or 1,168, of those fatalities. In addition to death, children involved in car accidents are also at high risk for sustaining serious and long-term injuries.
Losing a child is one of the most devastating things a parent can face. In order to reduce the risk of your child sustaining serious injuries or death while in a car accident, refer to the following car safety tips for children.
Use the Correct Car Seat for Your Child
Perhaps the most important component of car safety for children is to use the correct car seat for your child’s age, height and weight. As children grow, the size of the car seat required will also change.
Therefore, make sure that as you shop for car seats, you purchase one designed specifically for your child’s size. Not only is purchasing a car seat that’s the right size for your child important, it’s also crucial to make sure the car seat is the right fit for your vehicle. It’s also a great idea to get your child’s car seat inspected by a certified technician.
Follow Laws for Booster Seats
After your child has grown out of car seats, most state laws still require the use of a booster seat. Whether required by law or not, though, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that booster seat use reduces the risk of injury for children ages four through eight by 45 percent compared to seatbelt use alone. Therefore, using a booster seat for your child until he or she reaches the proper age is highly recommended.
It is recommended that a child remain using a booster seat until the age of eight to 12, depending upon the child’s size. Once a child can properly fit into a seat belt, the booster seat can be retired.
Seatbelts are a Must
Once your child moves out of a booster seat, making sure they fit properly into a seatbelt—and that they are always buckled up—is critical to car safety. In order to use a seatbelt without a booster seat, a child should be tall enough to sit in the seat without slouching, be able to keep the back against the vehicle’s seat, and be able to keep the feet flat on the floor.
Make sure that you insist upon your child using a seatbelt, and that you set a good example by always wearing a seatbelt too. Furthermore, avoid letting your child place the shoulder belt behind the back; the shoulder belt should always lie snugly across the shoulder and chest for optimal safety.
Beware of Airbags
While airbags can help save lives, they can be deadly for children and infants. The following provide some car safety tips regarding airbags when traveling with children in the car.
- Seat children in the back seat of the vehicle, which is the safest place for children younger than age 13.
- For children age 13 and older who are in the front seat, move the front seat as far back as possible, and turn the airbags off if the child is younger than 13 and must sit in the front (such as if there is no backseat).
- Never place an infant in a car seat in the front seat, especially when the airbag is on.
In general, the back seat is the best place for children until the teenage years.
If Your Child’s Been Injured
If your child’s been hurt in a car accident, another person may be liable for your child’s injuries. For questions about how to pursue damages, or to set up a free case consultation, call the attorneys at Rob Levine & Associates at 800-529-1222 today.