According to the NHTSA, its new survey shows that more parents are keeping their kids in child safety seats that are appropriate for their size and age group rather than moving them into seat belts too soon. This is obviously good news, considering that car crashes are still the number one cause of child deaths. In 2011 alone, there were 939 child car accident fatalities. Over 12,200 kids were saved because of seat belts, car sets, and booster seats.
At The Gilbert Law Group®, our child injury attorneys represent kids who were hurt motor vehicle accidents involving auto defects, car seat defects, and other product flaws. We represent families nationwide. Our auto products liability law firm is not afraid to pursue recovery from large manufacturers and automakers.
Per the NHTSA’s 2011 National Survey of the Use of Booster Seats, the number of kids in the 4 to 7 age group using only seat belts rather than boosters and car seats went down to 25% that year from 32% in 2009. For that same period, the number of booster seats and child safety seats in use went up. However, 25% of kids in that demographic were also improperly restrained in seat belts rather than in boosters and car seats. The federal agency remains adamant the child safety devices are the safer alternative for kids in that age range.
Per Safercar.gov, car seat and booster recommendations include:
Until 12 months: A car seat designed to face the rear of the vehicle.
Ages 1 to 3: A car seat that faces the rear of the vehicle until he/she exceeds the seat’s maximum weight and height limits. Then, a car seat that faces forward and comes with a harness.
Ages 4 to 7: The same forward-facing seat until he/she outgrows weight and height limits. After that, a booster seat.
Ages 8 to 12: In a booster until he/she is large enough that a shoulder and lap belt can fit snuggly over the thighs, chest, and shoulder. It’s still safer for your son/daughter to be in the back seat.
However, following these recommendations won’t matter if the car seat has any defects that make it unsafe or if it isn’t properly installed or used correctly. Poor construction, handle defects, harness problems, poor shell design, flammable materials, poorly made latches, and improper/incomplete instructions about installation and use can all prove catastrophic in the event of a car crash. Car seat defects have even been known to be the cause of injury or death.
You want to work with a car seat defect law firm that can figure out what was wrong with a defective child safety seat, as well as determine how that safety issue is to blame for the pain and suffering of your son or daughter. Common car seat injuries can include strangulation, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, loss of hearing or eyesight, limb loss, closed head trauma, burns, scarring, paralysis, and death.