This week is National Child Passenger Safety Week, which serves as a reminder to us all just how important it is to make sure our children are secured properly in their car or booster seats. Failing to do so could be the difference between life and death if your child is involved in an unfortunate auto accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car accidents are the leading cause of death in children between the ages of 1 and 13. In 2011, 655 children were killed in auto accidents across the United States. Of the children killed, one out of every three was not wearing a seat belt.
When a child does not wear a seat belt and becomes involved in a collision, they are at an increased risk of being ejected from the vehicle, which commonly leads to serious personal injuries or death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wearing a seat belt reduces an infant’s chance of being harmed in an accident by 72 percent and a toddler’s chance of suffering fatal injuries in a crash by 54 percent.
Recent studies have found that three out of every four car seats are improperly installed. Incorrectly installed car seats could lead to brain and spinal cord injuries in children should a collision occur. To avoid a tragedy, adults must ensure that babies under the age of 1 and fewer than 20 pounds are in a rear-facing safety seat. Once a child is over 1-years-old and weighs more than 20 pounds, they can be placed in a front-facing seat with an internal harness. Once a child is over 30 pounds, they can be placed in a booster seat, however it is strongly recommended to keep children in a front-facing seat until they are 40 pounds in weight.
In Florida, children between the ages of 6 and 12 must remain in the rear seat of the vehicle and use a seat belt at all times. Children 13-years-old and above can ride in the front or back seat. Just like adults, the law requires that they wear seat belts.
September is a great month for parents and child caregiver’s to have their child’s passenger safety seat inspected for no cost. Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 15 – 21. Sept. 21 is National Seat Check Saturday. You can visit the NHTSA’s website to find a child seat inspection station near you.
No matter how old you are, anytime you are involved in an auto accident you run the risk of suffering serious injuries. If a car accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, you have the right to seek compensation for your suffering. A Florida Auto Accident Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you through this troubling time. Contact us today online or call us statewide and toll-free at 866-608-5529 for a free case evaluation.
Photo credit: Sergiu Bacioiu / Foter / CC BY-NC