Improper Use of Child Restraints a Common Factor in Fatal Crashes

A study published in the April 2016 issue of The Journal of Pediatrics found that 95 percent of parents installed their newborn's car seat or positioned their child in the car seat incorrectly. Now, a separate study published in the pediatric medical journal's May 2017 issue links the improper use of child restraints to truly devastating consequencesImproperly restrained children in cars

The study, authored by professors at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, found that 43 percent of children age 15 and younger who died in fatal car crashes between 2010 and 2014 were restrained improperly or not at all. Additionally, 13 percent of those who died were in the front passenger seat, which safety experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have long warned against, as the front seat can be a deadly place for children 12 and younger in the event of an accident.

The researchers who authored the study see potential for federal intervention in the area of child traffic safety. A targeted campaign to raise awareness of proper car seat installation and child-positioning practices could theoretically have a big impact, with even a 10 percent improvement in correct use equating to a decrease in the national child crash fatality rate from 0.94 per 100,000 to 0.56 per 100,000.

Here are some tips for installing child safety seats and positioning children in them correctly:

  • Toddlers should be in a rear-facing car seat in the back until age 2—or until they've exceeded the seat's height and weight limits.
  • A rear-facing car seat should never be installed in front of an active air bag.
  • Children should be restrained in a forward-facing car seat until at least 5 years old.
  • Children ages 5 and older should sit in a booster seat until the seat belt fits them properly (where the lap belt lays across the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt lays across the chest).

Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney?

If your child was injured in a car accident caused by another motorist's negligence, you could be eligible for compensation for injuries and other damages. Contact Holton Law Firm today to schedule a free initial analysis of your car accident case.


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