According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost half of all child car and booster seats were incorrectly installed and misused, making it the primary reason for childhood injuries in 2016.
Even if you consider yourself a relatively safe driver, the negligence of others should be enough to encourage all parents and caregivers to understand the importance of proper car seat use.
In the spirit of Child Passenger Safety Week from September 15-21, we’ve compiled the top 3 myths surrounding car and booster seats, followed by accurate information. It could save the lives of your most precious cargo in the event of an accident.
Before you install a child car seat or restraint system, finding the right fit for your child’s age and size is of utmost importance. Keep in mind that one size does not fit all when it comes to providing the best possible protection.
Babies should be kept in a rear-facing car seat with a 5-point harness for as long as possible – typically until they outgrow it by weight or height beyond 2 or 3 years of age.
For kids who’ve outgrown the baby car seat, options include the convertible car seat, the front-facing-only, the combination seat, and the 3-in-1 car seat.
No matter your child’s age, weight or size, these tips for checking the fit apply for all car and booster seats:
SAFETY TIP: Visit the Safe Kids Connecticut website for a comprehensive state directory of child car seat fitting stations in your area.
Installation for car and booster seats varies greatly by type. While front-facing and rear-facing models use the same attachment points in your car, they fit the anchors and belt systems differently.
Always read the manufacturer guidelines for the correct installation of your particular child car seat. Extra assistance, including additional diagrams, videos, and safety tips can often be found on the product’s website.
SAFETY TIP: The rear or front-facing car seat should pass the Inch Test. That is, the seat or system shouldn’t move more than an inch when pulled in any direction path.
Extreme crash forces can bend the steel frame of a vehicle and easily damage the structural integrity of a child car seat — even if the damage isn’t immediately evident.
Rachel Flood, Business Manager at The Flood Law Firm, reveals: “Many drivers don’t know that you should always replace your car seats after they’ve been involved in a car accident. I find that many clients don’t realize this, and their insurance company (or the insurance company of the person at-fault) will even pay to replace it along with other property damage.”
SAFETY TIP: Post-accident child car seats and restraint systems may be recycled, returned to the manufacturer (some brands even reimburse with coupon credit towards future purchases), or offered to your local SAFE KIDS coalition for training purposes.
The Flood Law Firm is a family-led practice of seasoned personal injury trial lawyers who advocate for Connecticut families victimized by another’s negligence, including for the loss of a loved one. We will listen to your story when it has been refused or mishandled elsewhere. To speak with an attorney for free, please contact our offices at (860) 346-2695.