Child Passenger Safety Week: This annual event, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is meant to raise awareness of the vulnerability of small children riding in automobiles and the necessary precautions that parents, caregivers, or relatives must take to ensure their safety.
There can be little argument regarding the seriousness of child passenger safety-one only needs to look at the results of ignoring the issue to be convinced.
According to the NHTSA motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for 3 to 14 year olds. An important part of preventing such tragedies is ensuring that your child is using the proper type of restraint. Even if you missed Child Passenger Safety Week, it is never too late to educate yourself on how to protect your young ones. Here are the basic guidelines:
- Babies from birth to 1 year should always ride in a rear-facing, age appropriate, car seat in the back seat.
- Toddlers and children ages 1 to 3 are safest in a rear facing car seat for as long as possible.
- Children 4 to 7 years of age are safest in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until they outgrow the seat’s limits.
- 8 to 12 years – At this point, some parents make the mistake of graduating their children to a seat belt too soon. Until a child has grown enough (roughly 4’9″ inches tall and between 80 to 100 lbs), seat belts ride too high on their torso and may actually cause internal injuries in a crash. Until a seat belt rests across the upper thighs and the collar bone, children should ride in booster seats.
- Children under the age of 13 should be seated in the back seat in order to protect them from injuries caused by front airbags and because it is just safer there.
- Always use the restraint that is made for your child’s age and weight and make sure it is properly installed.
Remember in Florida, these are not just recommendations – it is the law that children under 4 years of age ride in a car seat and all children under 18 be buckled up.
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Hello, I am Jeffrey Meldon. As an accident attorney, I strongly believe that public education is the first step in the prevention of an accident or in the recovery from one.
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