Improper Car Seat Usage Leads to Injured Children
When considering how best to avoid auto accidents, most motorists and parents alike think of things to do well ahead of time, as well as while driving. Regular maintenance, then cautious, defensive, observant driving, right? However, when it comes to keeping your children safe, the missing puzzle piece for many parents is proper car seat installation and usage.
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, 59 percent of all children’s car seats are used incorrectly. Unrestrained children account for 37 percent of all auto-accident child fatalities, so proper child restraint device usage isn’t optional.
Common Car Seat Issues
Car seats can only protect your child when you use them properly, yet “proper usage” isn’t as simple as it sounds. Of course, part of that is being sure that your child themselves uses the car seat appropriately; they shouldn’t lean too far in any particular direction or slip out of any straps. However, most car seat issues stem from the parent, not the child, and in more ways than you might expect:
- Not using the right car seat for your child. Car seats aren’t “one size fits all” devices. You need to use different types and different unique versions based on your child’s weight, height, and the car you drive. The NHTSA’s Car Seat Recommendations for Children publication helps to elaborate on the different types of car seats and best practices for when to use them but always do extra research on your own, as every child is unique.
- Improper installation. It’s surprisingly easy to mess up while installing a car seat; they need to be tethered in place securely and in a method that specifically matches your car seat and vehicle specifications. The car seat should be firmly in place, not moving more than an inch in any direction when pulled; additionally, harness straps should have no leeway to move at all (if you can fit your finger between your child’s chest and the strap, it’s too loose). Most cities have car seat inspections available, where a certified technician can inspect your work or help you with installation, free of charge; take advantage of these opportunities to be absolutely sure your children are as safe as possible.
- Not registering your car seat. When treated properly, car seats aren’t a “one and done” product that you buy, install, periodically check on, and then forget about. You should always register your car seat with the manufacturer; once you’ve done so, you’ll receive calls about any safety notices or recalls that affect you. Registration might happen during check-out, but you might also need to do it on your own; alternatively, you can send your information to the NHTSA and allow them to send it to the manufacturer on your behalf.
Arizona Auto Accidents with Injured Children
Unfortunately, even if you use your child’s car seat correctly, they might still get hurt; furthermore, cases where car seats weren’t installed properly still likely have some level of fault to attribute to the other driver. At ELG, our experienced auto accident attorneys in Arizona can help you get the compensation you deserve for your child’s suffering, bills, and other damages, so contact us today at (623) 877-3600 to schedule a free consultation.