According to statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vehicle crashes were the number one cause of accidental deaths for children 14 years and younger in 2012, with 1,100 lives lost. Another 176,000 children were injured. Sadly, despite increase use and awareness, many of those young victims were not restrained in child seats properly.
The CDC numbers show that infant car seats reduce the risk of death in car crashes by 71 percent for infants. The risk for toddlers, ages 1 to 4 years old, is reduced by 54 percent when properly restrained in child safety seats. For children ages 4 to 8, booster seats can reduce their risk by 45 percent.
The CDC also recommends that children under the age of 12 always sit in the back of the vehicle. Airbags that go off can kill a young child. It’s also critical that a rear-facing infant car seat never be placed in the front seat or in front of an airbag. The safest place for the child to be buckled in is the middle back seat.
With so many seats and stages of development, it’s important to know which seat is appropriate for the age and size of your child.
- Safety seats for babies from infancy to two years old should always be in a rear-facing seat. However, do not choose your child safety seat based on the age of the child. Check the manufacturer’s height and weight recommendations.
- For children between the ages of two and five years old, a front facing child safety seat is appropriate. Again, it’s important to check the manufacturer’s height and weight recommendations before choosing the seat.
- Once your child has physically outgrown a front-facing child safety seat, booster seats should be used. These seats are generally used for children between the ages of five and eight years old. Children should not stop using booster seats until the vehicle seat belts fit them properly. According to the CDC website, “seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck).” This usually happens when a child is approximately 57 inches tall.
In addition to making sure the child is properly restrained in the safety seat, it’s also critical to make sure the seat itself is properly restrained in the vehicle. Most local police departments hold clinics where you can bring your vehicle to have them check and ensure the seat is properly restrained.
If your child has been injured in a vehicle accident caused by another driver’s negligence, contact a New Braunfels personal injury attorney to find out what compensation your family may be entitled to.