Keep Your Children Safe in Car Seats

Keep Your Children Safe in Car Seats

Posted By The Maher Law Firm || 21-Feb-2014

Baby boy in car seat

Keeping children safe in a car is a top concern for many parents. Car seats and safety belts have improved safety for child passengers, with a marked decline in the deaths of children in car accidents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that crash deaths of children dropped 43 percent from 2002 through 2011, the Associated Press reported recently.

During the 10-year period covered by the CDC report, accident fatalities overall dropped to levels not seen since the 1940s. In other words, everyone was safer on the roads during this 10 year period.

Children make up only a small portion of those killed in accidents. They are less likely to be sitting in the front seat, where fatalities are most common, and aren't out driving alone or cruising around late at night when drunk drivers are often on the road. These factors put them at a lower risk of dying in a car crash.

In 2011, the last year covered by the report, children represented 650 of the total 21,000 deaths. In 2012, outside the scope of the report, they represented 637.

Experts point to the increased use of child safety seats and seatbelts for the decline in traffic fatalities involving children. But many people still do not properly restrain their children while traveling.

About 25 percent of white children and almost half of Hispanic and African-American children who died in crashes in 2009 and 2010 were not in car seats and were not buckled up, according to the report. Some families may go without child safety seats because of their cost, often well over $100.

Choosing the Right Safety Seat

Keeping your child safe begins with choosing the right car seat and using it in the correct manner. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's, car seat recommendations depend on the size and age of your child.

From birth to 12 months, your child should ride in a rear-facing infant seat. From ages 1 to 3, the child can ride in a rear-facing or forward-facing seat, though a rear-facing seat is recommended as long as the child's weight will allow it. Check the seat itself for weight limits.

From 4 to 7 years, your child should sit in a forward-facing car seat with a harness that goes across the chest. Again, check with the manufacturer's guidelines for weight recommendations.

After a child grows out of a child safety seat, around age 8, he or she can transition to a booster seat. But remember, the booster seat does no good without a safety belt. Children should stay in the booster seat until around age 12 or at least until the laws in your state mandate.

Having the right car seat is only as effective as installing it correctly. Follow the directions carefully to ensure your child's car seat is securely in place and will function as intended should you be involved in a car wreck.

Keeping your child safe in the event of an auto accident should be a top priority. As the CDC report indicates, safe driving and proper child safety seats have saved lives and will continue to save lives as long as we stay focused and committed to this common goal.

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