How Can I Keep My Child Safe While on the Road?

One of the biggest safety dangers for children is car wrecks, which occur in high numbers every day throughout the United States. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents account for more fatal childhood accidents than any other cause.

Fortunately, there are some actions parents can take to mitigate the dangers that happen during car travel.

Restraint Systems Save Lives

The best way to reduce risk is to use a seat belt or other safety restraint. For small children, that means using car seats and booster seats that are appropriate.

For older children, it is vital for them to be properly restrained. That means using seat belts. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. Crash data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that more than half of teen deaths are caused by not wearing seat belts. Parents should model appropriate behavior by using their seat belts as well.

What Should I Know About Car Seats?

A safety restraint system of some kind is necessary for every occupant in a moving vehicle. Small children need the most elaborate car seats, progressively graduating to booster seats and then regular seat belts.

Infants and babies should travel in rear-facing car seats for as long as it is comfortable for them to do so, usually depending on how comfortably their legs can fit. This often happens when the child is about two years old.

Once facing backwards is no longer an option, or after the child reaches 20 pounds, it is time to turn them around. A forward-facing car seat is recommended for babies and children once they reach 20 pounds.

The weight limit for a child’s car seat will be able to guide a parent as to when it is time to retire the car seat and replace it with a booster seat. A child should use a booster seat to keep them properly positioned so that the seat belt functions appropriately.

The booster should be used until the child is 57 inches tall, at which point the seat belt will fit properly on its own.

How Do I Install and Use the Car Seat Correctly?

The most important factor on the safety of a child’s car seat is that it is installed and used properly. The NHTSA reports that as much as 80 percent of car seats in use today are installed incorrectly. When choosing a car seat model, a parent may want to consider how it fits in a vehicle. A parent should read and follow the installation directions carefully to ensure that the seat is securely fastened to the car.

Once the seat is installed correctly, a parent must ensure that their child is well restrained by the car seat’s straps and clasps. The straps should be snug, and the clasps should be securely engaged every time a child is in the seat. Double checking is worth the extra few seconds.

Car Seat Placement

Children under 13 years old should always be seated in vehicles’ back seats. Passenger seats are dangerous, especially since they have airbags that can deploy and hit children.

Should I Seek Legal Representation if My Child is Hurt?

If a parent is involved in a car accident, it is crucial to speak to a car accident lawyer in order to hold the responsible party accountable for damage and injuries. Children are extremely vulnerable in accidents, and they can suffer from costly catastrophic injuries. A lawyer will hold the negligent driver accountable for his or her reckless behavior.

Prince George’s County Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Represent Injured Car Wreck Victims

If your child was injured or killed in a car accident, you need to hold those accountable for their actions. Our Prince George’s County car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King help car accident victims obtain compensation. Contact us online or call us at 202-331-1963 for a free consultation. Located in Washington, D.C., we serve clients throughout Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, and Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.