According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children ages one to 12. The best way to protect children in the car is to utilize age-appropriate child safety seats. Safe Kids USA reports that a correctly used child safety seat can reduce a child’s risk of death by as much as 71 percent. In fact, according to Safe Kids USA, nearly half of all children ages 14 and under who die in car accidents are completely unrestrained.
Choosing the Right Car Seat
When selecting a car seat, parents should consider their child’s age and size as well as the size of their vehicle. According to the NHTSA:
- Children under age one should ride in a rear-facing car seat
- Children ages one to three should remain in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the height or weight limit established by the manufacturer
- Children ages four to seven should ride in a front-facing car seat with a harness until they reach the height or weight limit established by the manufacturer
- Children ages eight to 12 should use a booster seat until they are big enough for a seatbelt to fit them properly, i.e., lap belt lays snugly across their upper thighs, not their stomach, and shoulder belt lays snugly across their shoulder and chest, not their face or neck
Another factor parents may want to consider when selecting a child safety seat is its “Ease-of-Use” rating by the NHTSA. The NHTSA has established a five-star rating system to evaluate the following categories:
- Content and quality of the instruction manual
- Features that pertain to installation
- Content and clarity of product labeling
- Features that pertain to securing the child
If you are unsure whether a car seat is right for your child or has been installed correctly, the NHTSA offers car seat safety inspections at stations around the country, for no charge in most cases.
Car Seat Defects
Even when a child safety seat is used correctly, children can still be seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents that are especially severe or if the car seat proves defective. Potential car seat defects include:
- Sudden release
- Separation of base and shell
- Harness failure
- Poor construction
- Substandard or flammable materials
- Handle malfunction
- Failure to meet safety standards
If your child has sustained serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident, an experienced Atlantic City injury attorney can help your family get the compensation it needs and deserves. To learn about your family’s legal rights, contact an Atlantic City injury lawyer today.