While anyone can be seriously injured in a car accident depending on various factors like speed and the size of the vehicles involved, young children are particularly vulnerable to injuries, especially if they’re not secured properly in their car seats. September is an important month to highlight the importance of keeping our young passengers safe, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has declared September 20-26 to be Child Passenger Safety Week. This week of awareness will culminate on “National Seat Check Saturday” on September 26.
According to the NHTSA, every 32 seconds in 2018, one child under the age of 13 in a passenger vehicle was involved in an accident. In multiple studies, it was found that many injuries and deaths could have been prevented in collisions through the correct use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts.
What Car Seat Does My Child Need?
There are various types of car seats for children and the type you need depends on how old your child is, as well as their size. A child who is older but small for their age, for example, may need a different kind of seat than someone the same age who is of average size.
Common types of car seats include:
- Rear-Facing Car Seat (Birth to 3 Years): All babies under the age of 1 should always sit in a rear-facing car seat, and they should remain in that seat until they reach the top height or weight limit established by the car seat’s manufacturer.
- Forward-Facing Car Seat (1 to 7 Years): Once your child has outgrown their rear-facing seat, they can begin traveling in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether, though it should still be in the back seat.
- Booster Seat (4-12 Years): Often confused with car seats, booster seats are forward-facing seats for older children that allow them to use a seat belt as a normal adult would. Children in booster seats should still ride in the back seat because it’s safer.
- Seat Belt (8-12 Years & Beyond): Once children are big enough to fit in a seat belt properly, you may remove their booster seat, though they should continue to ride in the back seat. There is never an excuse for your child to not be wearing a seat belt in a moving vehicle.
Tips on Preventing Child Injuries
It’s unfortunately not uncommon for children to be seriously injured in car accidents because their car seats or booster seats weren’t secured properly. As parents, it’s essential that you make time to learn how to properly fasten a seat and change seats in the event that you need to transfer vehicles or replace a seat.
Some other tips that can help you keep your child safe include:
- Keeping your child in the back seat until they are at least 12
- Car seats have expiration dates – make sure to check the date set by the manufacturer
- Be aware of any car seat recalls from manufacturer or design defects
- Don’t drive until your children are buckled up
- Wear your own seat belt – driver safe belt safety will influence whether your child will buckle up
Keeping Families Safe
At Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., our car accident attorneys have a demonstrated commitment to our injured clients. Our team includes Board-Certified attorneys, one of whom is one of just three attorneys in the county with a Certification for Civil Trial Law. We prepare rigorously for every case we handle and are ready to go to court to pursue our clients’ goals. When you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, that driver deserves to be held accountable.
Beyond handling injury claims, we’re also able to inform you about unique state laws and how they may impact your unique case. For example, every state has a statute of limitations, or a deadline to file a personal injury claim. We are aware of these details and can work efficiently to ensure you have a fighting chance at recovering damages, which can include medical bills, lost wages, and more.
Call our car accident attorneys at Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A. today at (941) 960-7225 or contact us online for a free consultation after you or a loved one has been injured in an accident. Hiring an attorney to represent your interests is a crucial next step after you’ve received medical attention.