Nobody needs to tell you that children are especially vulnerable when they are riding in automobiles.
But did you know that according to data the National Health and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) collected in 2008, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of three to 14?
Unfortunately, the numbers haven’t improved. So in 2011, the agency updated its child restraint guidelines to curb this trend. The new guidelines say that manufacturers need to categorize child restraints “by age rather than by type of child seat in order to keep pace with the latest scientific and medical research and the development of new child restraint technologies.”
They also say that parents should make their child restraint choices based upon a child’s height and weight to ensure the best possible fit. The guidelines further advise that mothers and fathers keep their children in each restraint type before “graduating” them to the next type of seat. The worst thing parents can do is move a child into a new safety device before that child is ready.
While choosing the proper restraint for a child is essential, it’s equally important that parents are careful about how they put their children in the device they’re using. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “one study found that 72% of 3,500 observed car and booster seats were misused in a way that could be expected to increase a child’s risk of injury during a crash.”
The Mayo Clinic has observed six mistakes that well-meaning parents often make when putting or securing their children in automobiles. They include:
- using child car seats as cribs
- being unaware of the potential risks a used child seat may have (it may have been recalled by the manufacturer, for example)
- placing the child car seat in the wrong position or spot in the car
- moving a child to a booster seat too soon
- moving a child to regular safety belts too soon
- dressing a child in bulky clothing or outerwear that can interfere with the degree of protection harness straps can offer
Your children are dependent on you and the decisions you make. If your child gets injured or worse despite the precautions you take and as a result of another person’s negligence behind the wheel, then you need to act quickly to protect your child’s rights as well as your own.
Call Stapleton & Barrera and we will help you.