Protecting Children in Your Vehicle
Driving with children is often chaotic. Making sure they have the appropriate gear and getting them safely into the vehicle can easily strain your nerves. Once you are on the road, issues often arise, whether it is fighting with a sibling or other items dropped on surrounding seats or floor areas. While overseeing everything presents definite challenges, it is important to make safety a priority. Even minor car accidents can leave children suffering serious and potentially life threatening injuries if the proper precautions are not taken.
Children and Car Accidents
Car accidents pose a major threat to little ones. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 600 children under the age of 12 are killed in car crashes and collisions each year in the United States, while more than 120,000 suffer serious and potentially disabling injuries. While these accidents can often be attributed to reckless driving behaviors, such as driving distracted, driving under the influence, or driving in an aggressive or reckless manner, one of the biggest factors in terms of children being injured or killed is the fact that they were not wearing a seatbelt or in an approved child safety seat.
Under state and federal guidelines, all passengers in a vehicle are required to use some type of safety restraint. For children under the age of 12, the CDC recommends the following:
- Rear facing infant car seats: For children under the age of two;
- Forward facing car seats: For children between the ages of 2 and 5;
- Booster seats: For use until the child has grown sufficiently to use a car seat belt, which is generally when they are tall enough to look out the passenger window.
In general, rear passenger seating is the safest for children, and those in booster or child car seats are prohibited from sitting in the front of the vehicle.
Protecting Your Child
Child safety seats only work to prevent injuries in a car accident if they are installed and used correctly. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), this is something that many parents could use some help with. The instructions that come with your car seat may be difficult to understand, and children may rebel at all the belts and latches involved. Unfortunately, any compromises or errors you make in this area could end up putting them at risk. For help in installing or settling your child properly in a car seat, you can stop by your local police station and ask for assistance. Routinely, the Palm Beach Safety Council holds special events specifically targeting car seat safety.
Unfortunately, there are times when a car seat fails to function properly, or the nature and severity of a collision results in injuries to your child, despite your precautions. In these situations, contact Gregg Wexler We provide caring, professional legal representation, to help hold responsible parties accountable. Call or contact our office online, to request a consultation with our West Palm Beach car accident attorney.