According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, nearly two children are killed each day in a car accident. While some of these deaths can’t be prevented, an outstanding number of them can. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the proper use of a car seat can reduce the risk of death 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers. In a recent study, it was revealed that 72% of child restraint systems are installed improperly. In addition to car seats being installed improperly, many parents are not using the correct car seat for their child to begin with.
How to Install a Car Seat
Unfortunately, many parents are not aware that they have installed their child’s car seat improperly, or that the seat they are using is the wrong size for their child. There are many steps a parent can take to ensure the safety of their child’s car seat. The CDC recommends the following:
- Use the correct car seat, booster seat or seat belt for your children. Which option is appropriate will depend on the child’s age, height, and weight.
- Use the proper restraint system every time the child is in the vehicle, regardless of how short the trip is.
- Always have children sit in the back seat. The middle of the back seat is also the safest place in the car.
- Never seat children in front of an airbag.
- Use a rear-facing car seat for infants under the age of two.
- Use a forward-facing car seat for children ages two to five.
- For children five and up, use a booster seat until a seat belt fits them properly. Seat belts should fit so that the lap belt lays across the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt lays across the chest.
- When the seat belt fits properly without the child sitting in a booster seat, have the child use a seat belt.
- Make sure you install and use the car and booster seats correctly. If you need help, there are certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians who can assist you. The National Child Passenger Safety Certification Program has a checklist for what to do to prepare for meeting with a CPS Technician, and what to do during the car seat checkup.
- Be a role model for children and always wear a seatbelt.
Common Injuries Caused By Improperly Used Car Seats
A car accident can cause severe injuries to any human being. When a small child is involved in a car accident, the injuries they suffer can be much more catastrophic than those caused to someone who is larger. Some common injuries sustained by children due to car accidents include but are not limited to the following:
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Broken and fracture bones
- Internal injuries
- Mild to severe burns caused by car seat straps
- Whiplash injuries
The only way to minimize the chances your child has at sustaining one of the injuries listed above is to ensure that they are correctly fastened into a properly installed car seat. Most aspects of a car accident are completely out of your control so it is important that you take control of what you can. Ensure that you and your child are properly restrained so that you can be prepared for the worst.
What is New York’s Car Seat Law?
Just like the rest of the United States, New York has very strict guidelines about the use of car seats. The car seat laws in New York are as follows:
- Any child that is under the age of four is required by law to ride in a federally approved car seat that is properly secured with a seat belt or the car’s anchor system.
- All children under the age of eight must ride in a child restraint system.
- All children under the age of four who weigh under 40 pounds must ride in a booster seat that has lap and shoulder belts.
Car Accident Lawyers in New York
At Lever Gottfried Ecker PLLC, we care about your family’s safety. If you have a young child, we hope you take the time and research that is necessary for installing their car seat properly. You never know when a car accident is going to happen, but you can make sure that everyone who is in the car with you is safely secured. Together, we can help reduce the leading cause of childhood deaths one car seat at a time. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, contact Lever Gottfried Ecker PLLC, so that we can discuss providing you with legal representation.