Parents believe they are doing the right thing when they buy the most complex car seat for their child. They may even research the seat that has the highest safety rating. What some parents may not realize is that even the safest car seat may not be as safe if they are not installed properly. If parents install a car seat properly, it can reduce a child’s risk of injury by 70 percent.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 58 percent of unintentional injuries to children are due to motor vehicle accidents. It is important to know that these numbers are almost six to 10 times greater than fatality by other types of accidents, such as by drowning, poisoning, or burns. Between 2010 and 2014, an average of 11 children per week suffered fatal injuries in the United States from motor vehicle accidents.
Changes to Rear-Facing Guidelines
In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended keeping children in rear-facing car seats until the age of two or when they outgrow the height or weight requirements of the specific car seat. After that recommendation, parents had concerns that their child’s legs would feel overcrowded and could impede development but facing backwards has been proven to protect the child’s legs in a car accident.
A 2007 study found that children under the age of two were 75 percent less likely to be seriously injured if they were in a rear-facing car seat. Additionally, children who are older than two years old should be in a five-point harness until they have reached the height or weight requirements for their specific car seat.
Children who are greater than the height or weight requirements for a five-point harness should be placed in a belt-positioning booster seat until the shoulder and lap belt fit properly and fall correctly on the lap and shoulder of the child. This typically occurs when the child has reached 57 inches, or the child is eight to 12 years old.
Car Seat Installation
Installing the car seat properly is also important. Studies from 2005 to 2016 have shown that errors in car seat installation can be as high as 72 percent. Parents must read the instructions that come with each individual car seat, even if it is the same car seat. Manufacturers may change specifications on the same models of car seats. Many car seats have an optional tether strap at the top of the seat, which reduces the risk of head injury, since the seat is less likely to move forward in a car accident.
Car seat installation can be inspected at local hospitals or police and fire departments, and parents should locate where car seat installations can be inspected for potential errors in their community.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates Help Those Injured in All Types of Car Accidents
If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident, the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates can help. Contact us today by calling 215-567-6600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We are centrally located in Philadelphia, and we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas.