According to national statistics, the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 3 to 14 years of age is car accidents. Approximately 120,000 children are injured each year in crashes and almost 700 children are killed every year in vehicle accidents.
Study after study shows that the consistent use of car seats for young children significantly prevents severe injury when children are in a crash. But one alarming study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that in one year, more than 618,000 children who were 12 years of age or younger rode in a vehicle without a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt.
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Properly using a car seat is critical in keeping children safe and preventing severe injuries in the event of a crash. The following are tips that every parent and caregiver should follow to ensure that their child is as safe as possible:
- Make sure you are using the correct harness slot for your child’s size. The car seat’s harness should be placed either at or below the child’s shoulders if the seat is in a rear-facing position. For forward-facing position, the harness should be located at or above the child’s shoulders.
- All children who are 2-years-old or younger should be in rear-facing car seats. Once the child turns 3, then he or she can be put in a forward-facing car seat.
- When the child has outgrown a forward-facing car seat, they should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat for safety.
- Positioning of the booster seat is crucial for safety. The seat belt should never rest on the child’s face, neck, or abdomen. The booster seat harness should be firmly positioned against the child’s body and should never be loose.
- Many parents do not realize that car seats expire and will use the same car seats they used for their other children. Car seats are only good for a period of six to 10 years. The expiration date can be found either printed on the seat or in the instruction guide included with the seat. Reasons why a car seat may be expired include discontinued models, deteriorated materials, or rust.
Contact a Virginia Car Accident Attorney for Assistance
Unfortunately, no matter how many safe behaviors we adhere to, there is always the risk of another driver who fails to follow those same actions. If you or a member of your family has sustained injuries caused by a negligent or reckless driver, contact a Virginia car accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have.
The legal team from Shapiro & Appleton has been advocating for injured clients since 1985 and will do all we can to ensure you receive the best possible outcome under the circumstances of your case. If you would like to meet with one of our skilled Virginia accident attorneys to find out how we can help, call us today at 757-578-1079 for a free case evaluation.