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Proper Use of Child Safety Seats

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September 17, 2017
Edward Smith

Proper Use of Child Safety Seats

Using Child Safety Seats Properly

Child safety is an important issue when it comes to car accident injuries and fatalities. According to statistics by the Ad Council, during 2015, a child under the age of 13 was in a car crash almost twice each minute of the day. Knowing how to keep your child safe while on the road is important, and it is surprising how many people do not know how to correctly install a child safety seat or what measures are appropriate to provide the maximum protection.

At What Age Can Children Ride in the Front Seat?

Under the age of 13, all children should be riding in the back seat. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is common for parents to move their children prematurely to the use of seat belts. Over one out of 10 children involved in motor vehicle accidents weren’t utilizing any protective device at all.

Types of Seat Restraints

Seat restraints come in several types depending on the age, height, and weight of the child. The first is the car seat that faces only toward the rear. This infant type seat is used for babies up to eight or nine months of age. Convertible seats and all-in-one seats are available that can accommodate larger children and be used to face the rear for a longer period of time.

Forward-Facing Car Seats

Forward-facing car seats utilize a tether and harness system to keep children safely strapped in. These types of seats come in an all-in-one, combination, and convertible types.

Booster Seats

Booster seats are used with a seat belt. They come in four types. The backless variety does not provide head or neck support and so should be used in vehicles with headrests. The high-backed type of booster seat does protect the child’s head and neck so it is appropriate for vehicles without built-in headrests. All-in-one and combination seats are also available that transition from backward-facing to front-facing.

Seat Belts

The other type of seat restraint is the seat belt. These are required for children who are 16 or over. No child should ever be traveling in a motor vehicle without restraints because this increases the risk of injury or death if the vehicle is involved in a collision.

California Requirements for Child Safety Seats

  • Rear-facing seats are required for all children in California who weigh under 40 pounds or are shorter than  40 inches, according to the page on safety seats by the California Highway Patrol. The car seat manufacturer includes details on how a seat must be secured to provide the maximum protection for a child.
  • If a child is under eight years old, he/she must either be in a booster seat or car seat that is in the vehicle’s back seat. Because the level of safety is reduced each time a child is moved up to the next level of protection, the CHP urges parents to not be anxious to move their children to a booster seat as long as they are still secure and riding comfortably in a 5-point-harness seat. The harness seats, which face forward, are generally acceptable for children who weigh from 40 to 65 pounds.
  • Booster seats are necessary for children under 4’9” tall and are from eight to 12 years old. Although the California Vehicle Code Section 27363 states that they must at least be secured by a seat belt, because seat belts are designed for use by adults weighing 165 pounds, a booster seat is better protection for children of these ages.
  • Children who are 16 or older are required to utilize seat belts under the mandatory law on California Seat Belts.

Auto Accident Injuries

Injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident can be serious and may range from broken bones and lacerations to more serious injuries such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, burns, or internal damage. When this happens, you need an experienced auto accident lawyer to help you recover the compensation you need to cover those high medical bills, lost time at work, and other personal injury damages.

Fresno Car Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno car accident lawyer. Even though families do their best to stay safe while on the road, accidents still happen. When you and your loved ones have been injured due to a negligent driver, please call me, Ed Smith, at (559) 377-7676 or at my toll-free number at (800) 404-5400. The advice I have to offer is both free and friendly.

With 35 years of experience as a Fresno injury lawyer, I have been privileged to have served many people in obtaining compensation for their traumatic injuries or for the loss of a loved one through a wrongful death suit.

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