Our most important job as parents is keeping our children safe; this is especially true in vehicles. Thousands of children are seriously injured or killed, each year, in auto accidents. Safety related internet sites and news reports have made most parents aware of the importance of child safety seats (car seat or booster seat); however, there is still a misconception that a child between the ages of four and eight, weighing over 50 pounds is safe using the vehicle’s seat belt. The truth is that seat-belt-only use leaves children vulnerable to serious injuries or death, even in low-speed crashes. For most purposes, parents would rather their children stay children longer; the common expression is “they grow up so fast”. When it comes to child restraints, however, parents are putting their children in adult seat belts well before they are ready for them. Children in seat belts are more likely to sustain significant injuries in a crash compared to children in a child safety seat. Seat belts are designed for adults and do not offer enough protection for children. The child restraint used will depend on a child’s age, height, and weight – not just age.
Car seats, when installed and used correctly, are extremely effective in reducing injuries and saving lives. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers a guide for families to help understand the type of car seat for infants and children depending on their age, weight, and height. Proper installation is equally important. It is imperative to read the car seat manual and the vehicle manual for proper installation.
When shopping for a car seat, choose one that fits your child’s age and size. Avoid used car seats if you don’t know the history. Never use a car seat that is too old, has noticeable cracks, is missing parts, or was recalled. Most importantly, do not use car seats that have been in a moderate or severe crash. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that a car seat must meet five criteria in order to be safely used after an auto accident:
• The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site
• The vehicle door nearest the car seat was undamaged
• There were no injuries to anyone in the vehicle
• The air bags did not deploy
• There is no visible damage to the car seat
One caveat is that some car seat manufacturers state in the user manual that a car seat should be replaced after any type of accident, no matter how minor. This is doubly important because if the car seat does not protect your child when the need arises, the manufacturer will not be liable if you did not follow the required instructions.
Lawsuit Financial urges all parents to make sure their car safety seats are properly installed in your vehicle to prevent injuries or death to children. Lawsuit Financial is a leading provider of auto accident legal financial services all over the country. Auto accident lawsuit funding is provided to people injured or disabled in an accident and are suffering financial setbacks as a result. Our objective is to reduce the financial pressures to settle a case too early or for too little. Repayment is contingent upon litigation outcome. For further information about cases we fund, call us toll free at 1-877-377-SUIT (7848). And please, parents: Be smart…buckle up your precious children