As a parent or guardian, you want to keep your children safe, especially when traveling in the car. One of the simplest and most effective ways to ensure their safety is to use an appropriate car seat and seat belt for any kids riding in your vehicle.
Review the best practices for keeping children of all ages safe in the car, including choosing the right car seat and teaching older children to buckle up. If you or your child is injured in a car crash, the auto accident attorneys at Catalano Law can help you recover compensation for medical bills or emotional distress.
Car Accident Statistics Regarding Seat Belt and Car Seat Usage
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), vehicle accidents are a significant cause of death in kids between 1 and 13 years old. At a national level, 42% of children who died in car crashes in 2020 were not restrained, meaning they didn’t use a car seat or seat belt when riding in a vehicle.
Car seats are highly effective in saving children’s lives in a collision. The NHTSA reports that 325 children under 5 were saved by car seats in a single year. Car seats help to protect children from the impact of a collision, reducing the risk of serious injury to their head, neck, and spine. They also help keep children in their seats, reducing the risk of being thrown from the vehicle.
Similarly, seat belts protect older children and teenagers, keeping them from being thrown around or ejected during a collision. According to the CDC, 40% of kids between 8 and 12 who were killed in car accidents weren’t wearing a seatbelt. By law, all vehicle passengers older than 8 must wear a seat belt.
Best Practices for Keeping Your Child Safe in the Car
Keeping your child safe in the car, regardless of age, means having the right approach to passenger safety. For younger children, you should use a car seat or booster appropriate to their size and weight. Older children should always put on their seat belts before you operate the vehicle.
Use a Car Seat or Booster For Young Children
New York mandates car seats for children under 4 and rear-facing car seats specifically for children under 2. To optimize your child’s safety, choose the right car seat for their age, height, and weight.
The NHTSA offers a helpful tool for finding the right car seat, allowing you to input your child’s information to see what type they should use and offering specific models. In general, you can follow the NHSTA’s guidelines for choosing an appropriate car seat, including:
- Use rear-facing seats for all infants 1 year and under and for children up to 3 years old
- Children between 4 and 7 can move to forward-facing seats
- Keep children between 4 and 12 years in a booster
When buying a car seat, read the manufacturer’s booklet to learn more about the specific model’s height or weight specifications. The NHTSA guidelines offer age ranges. However, your child’s height and weight may require them to stay in a car seat type for an extended period.
Secure Car Seats and Boosters Properly
Nearly 46% of car and booster seats are used incorrectly, reducing their effectiveness. Ensure your child’s car seat is secured properly in your car to prevent injury in an accident.
Several resources can help you secure your car seat correctly. For example, the NHTSA provides step-by-step instructions for installing each type of car seat along with helpful videos. The National Child Passenger Safety Certification program also offers a searchable database where you can find a CPS Technician to help you install your car seat.
Ensure All Older Teens Wear Seatbelts
No matter how old your child is, ensure they put on their seat belt every time they get in a car. You can encourage this in older children and teenagers by educating them on the importance of using a seat belt and teaching them from a young age to put it on.
Speak with a New York Car Accident Attorney
If you or your child has been injured in a car accident in New York, contact Catalano Law to protect your rights and seek compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional costs associated with the collision.
Our experienced attorneys will guide you through the claims process, getting you the maximum settlement possible. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and take the first step in seeking compensation for you or your child.