The U.S. Department of Transportation has designated this week as the Child Passenger Safety Week. Parents, here is a good opportunity to learn more about how to prevent your children from being injured in a car or truck crash. And on Saturday you will be able to speak to a child seat expert if you still have questions.
Even if you think you’re strapping your children in correctly, recommendations change, equipment changes, and it can’t hurt to double check that you are making your child as safe as possible.
Why is this so important? The numbers speak for themselves. 43 percent of children who were killed in auto accidents were not properly retrained.
Sadly, many well-meaning, devoted parents just didn’t know what they were supposed to do or had trouble correctly installing the sometimes complicated car seat apparatus.
The basics of car seat use
The manner in which you restrain your child depends upon his size and physical development. The car seat guidelines are:
- Birth to 12 months — Strap your child into an infant seat facing backwards in the back seat of your car.
- 1 to 3 years — Rear facing is safest for your child. Wait as long as you can to switch to a forward facing seat, generally when the child has outgrown the rear facing one.
- 4 to 7 years — keep your child in the back seat in a car seat with a harness and tether until he or she has outgrown it, then you can move your child to a booster seat in the back seat of your car.
- 8 to 12 years — How fast your child grows determines when to remove her from the booster seat. The child can sit directly in your back seat when the seat belt fits properly.
Traveling with older children
What about tweens? Young people’s still growing bodies remain particularly vulnerable in an auto accident. Half of the 1,552 children between 8 and 14 years who died in car crashes over the past five years were not properly restrained. Even on very short rides, kids should always wear a seat belt. Of course this is a good rule for people of all ages.
Size remains a crucial factor as to when to let your child sit up front. The back seat is simply a safer place for children.
Car seats are an easy, but powerful, solution
A recent study published in The Journal of Pediatrics found that a mere 10 percent improvement in properly retraining children passengers would result in a significant decrease in child accident fatalities from .94 per 100,000 to .56 per 100,000. Wow. With all of the scary hurdles parents face in bringing up our kids, this is a refreshingly easy solution.
A car accident is a violent event that takes an especially hard toll on children. A child may still sustain injuries even if properly buckled in, but a car seat can drastically reduce the severity of the injuries and save her life.
I have handled far too many child injury cases in my almost 40 year career as an auto accident attorney. These cases are as heart-wrenching as one would imagine.
This is why Berenson Injury Law is always considering ways to show parents how keep their kids as safe as possible and to deliver compassionate, experienced representation if their child is God forbid injured in a car crash.