September 23 – 29 is Child Passenger Safety Week. Hopefully, we all know that it is important to use an approved car seat for our young children, but the laws regarding the use of car seats require car seats for older children as well.
Children under 2 years old must ride in a rear-facing car seat, unless the child weighs 40 pounds or more, or is taller than 40 inches. Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat, or booster seat in the back seat of the vehicle.
Children who are at least 8 years old or are 4 ft. 9 inches tall may be secured in a booster seat, but at minimum must be secured by a safety belt.
Putting your child in an appropriate car seat or booster is the single most important thing you can do to increase the chances your child will survive a car crash. Still, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children 1 to 13. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2015 in the United State 663 children ages 12 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes and 121,350 were injured.
One CDC study found that at least 618,000 children ages 0 – 12 rode without a car seat at least some of the time. Of the children ages 0 – 12 who died in car crashes in 2015, 35% were not buckled.
Car seat usage reduces the risk for death to infants under 1 by a staggering 71%, and by 54% for children aged 1 – 4. Booster seat usage reduces the risk of serious injury by 45% for children ages 4 – 8. For older children, the proper use of a seat belt reduces the risk by half.
These statistics should make every parent insist that a car seat is used every time their child rides in a car.
But, the use of a seat is not enough. The seat must be properly installed. Using a booster seat is easy. Just place the child in the seat, secure the latches and use a regular car seatbelt. But, installing a car seat can be very difficult. Many times, one must kneel in the seat to be able to secure the latches to the anchors under the back seat. Sometimes in can be difficult to even get an adult into the back seat to properly install the car seat.
Fortunately, there are many resources available to help anyone install a car seat free of charge.
In our experience, you can go to any CHP office and just ask for help. A trained officer will come out to your car and make sure your seat is installed properly. This is certainly worth 15 minutes of your time.
Many agencies and cities hold Car Seat Safety Checks, also free of charge. This list below, while certainly not comprehensive, will give you an abundance of resources and information concerning car seat usage and installation.
Above all else, please secure your child in a car seat.
If you or your child is injured in a car accident, you have legal options. Contact the San Luis Obispo personal injury lawyers at Ernst Law Group today for a free, no-obligation consultation.