Keeping your child safe while traveling in a vehicle is one of the most important jobs you have as a parent. Federal regulations on child safety seats are categorized by your child’s age and weight, which may help you to decide which car seat is most appropriate for your child.
Being thrown from a vehicle in a car crash increases risk of death by four times, and even if the child is restrained they can still be injured if not in the proper restraint. Children, especially infants, have weaker neck musculature and their ligaments are more elastic than adults leaving them susceptible to serious injury or even death in an automobile accident.
What are Virginia’s Car Seat Recommendations?
- Use a rear-facing child safety seat until your child is at least one year old and weighs 20 pounds.
- A five-point harness system is recommended for a convertible child’s safety seat.
- Children should remain in a car seat until they reach the maximum height and weight the seat manufacturer recommends.
- Children between the ages of six to eight years old and approximately 40 to 80 pounds are safest in a booster seat with the shoulder strap and lap belt.
- Children under the age of 12 and children who are small for their age should remain properly restrained in the back seat of the car in a booster seat if they fit.
- The center of the back seat is safest for a child’s car seat if it fits. Otherwise the passenger side rear seat is the next best choice for car seat placement.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that placing a child in the back seat rather than the front seat reduces the risk of death by 27%.
- Especially for newborns, avoid models with a tray shield, as the baby’s body may strike the hard plastic resulting in chest, abdominal, or head injuries.
- Avoid used seats if they look too old, have visible cracks, do not come with instructions, are missing parts, or do not have a manufacturers label with a model number on it.
- Always read and follow the manufacturers’ instructions for proper installation and use of your child’s car seat.
- Visit the NHTSA Web Site for child safety seat recalls.
If your child suffered serious injuries due to an automobile accident and you believe the safety seat was properly used, you need an experienced lawyer to help prove your case. Contact the skilled attorneys at Whitehead & Chiocca today for a complimentary review of your claim.