Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC
Child restraint systems save lives. Countless studies have shown this. For example, we know that when used properly, car seats reduce the chance for death by 70 percent in infants under 1 year, and 54 percent in toddlers aged 1 to 4 years.
In comparison, the American Society for the Positive Care of Children says that seat belt use reduces the chance of death by up to 50 percent in older children and adults.
The longer a child remains in a car seat, the lower the chance of death during a car accident.
When Car Seats Cause Injury
While it’s undeniable car seats are the safest place for a toddler or infant inside a car, there are circumstances that can lead to personal injury.
Car Seat Placement
The safest place to put a car seat is the middle of the back seat. The second safest spot is behind the driver’s seat. Car seats should never be placed in the front seat or locations where airbags could injure the child. If uncertain, check your car seat manufacturer’s instructions for airbag disabling or other safety measures.
Car Seat Installation
Another factor that can make car seats dangerous is incorrect installation. Always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions exactly. Make sure the car seat does not move more than an inch in any direction. If unsure, reach out to your area fire department, police station, or hospital for a car seat safety check.
Earlier in 2019, a Minnesota mother was charged with child endangerment after her toddler, who was correctly strapped into a car seat, came tumbling out of the car in the car seat. The car seat was not fastened to the car in any way. Luckily the toddler was not injured.
Forward-Facing Too Soon
Rear-facing car seats aren’t just beneficial for infants. They’re also recommended for toddlers until at least age 2. That’s because children this young are still developing their spines, and rear-facing car seats protect the spine better than forward-facing.
Another factor that can cause car seat injury is the placement of the chest clip. After closure, the chest clip should rest across the child’s upper chest, near the sternum. If the chest clip rests on the stomach or abdomen, the child can suffer internal injuries if involved in a car accident.
Using an Outdated or Faulty Car Seat
There’s a reason many child consignment shops don’t buy back used car seats: they have expiration dates. Borrowing a car seat from family or friends is fine, if you know for certain the car seat’s expiration date has not passed, it has not been recalled by the manufacturer, and it’s in good working condition. Otherwise, a faulty car seat can cause personal injury.
Transitioning Out of a Car Seat Too Soon
Each state has different laws for when a child is old enough (or weighs enough, whichever comes first) to not need a car seat. For example, Ohio’s law states that children’s up to age 4 or less than 40 pounds be restrained in child restraint system (car seat, booster seat, etc.)
Moving out of the car seat or booster seat too soon can cause serious personal injury. A seat belt needs to fit properly across the child’s thighs, not the face, neck, or stomach. For most children, this is usually around age 8 or older.
If your child has been injured in a car accident while using a car seat, call Kisling, Nestico & Redick to learn how we can help you. We represent individuals in all areas including car and truck accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, work-related injuries, defective products, as well as other personal injury areas. We have ten office locations throughout Ohio to better serve you.
Contact us for more information today.