Child safety seats are critical to keeping children safe in vehicles. In addition to seat belts and airbags, car seats have revolutionized auto passenger safety, prevented numerous injuries, and saved the lives of thousands of children involved in car wrecks. While car seats are an amazing feat in safety, using them inappropriately can minimize the safety benefits they offer and put your child at risk.
As a parent, keeping your child safe is your most important job. Using a car seat is one way to do so, but with so many child safety seats on the market, choosing the right one, maintaining it properly, and using it correctly can become a confusing task. At The Daspit Law Firm, our Houston car accident attorneys want to help parents make the best decisions when using car seats and keeping their kids safe.
Below are five common mistakes to avoid:
- Picking the Wrong Seat - The age of your child, their size and weight, and the type of vehicle you have are some of the most important factors in choosing the correct car seat. Some parents may try to use a car seat a child has outgrown, but there should never be an exception to spending money on something that could save your child’s life. You can use informational guidelines provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to help you choose the most appropriate safety seat for your child, and you should regularly check your child’s growth to ensure they are still within the seat’s optimal guidelines.
- Facing Your Child Forward Too Soon - The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that you keep toddlers rear-facing until they are at least 2 years old or exceed the seat manufacturer’s established height and weight limit. You may wish to keep your child rear-facing even after this by switching to a convertible seat. Experts estimate that a rear-facing seat is five times safer for young children in a collision than a forward-facing seat.
- Not Using the LATCH – Car seats can be secured by using a vehicle’s seat belt and / or LATCH system (lower anchors and tethers for children). Tethers, straps, and any LATCH system are designed to keep your child’s head in the confines of the seat in the event of a crash, dramatically reducing the chances of a head or neck injury.
- Getting Rid of the Booster Too Early - A booster seat is designed for children who have outgrown a car seat but do not properly fit into a seat belt yet. Seat belts are not designed to function properly for people under four feet and nine inches tall, which most kids don’t reach until roughly the age of 10. Using a belt-positioning booster seat can help prevent serious injuries from an accident that an improperly-fitting seatbelt can cause.
- Not Wearing Your Seat belt - Teaching your child the importance of wearing a safety belt and properly using their car seat is not very effective if you don’t wear your seatbelt yourself. If your child sees you not wearing your belt, they’re less likely to use their own seat properly, which may lead to serious injuries or death in an accident. Set a good example and wear your own safety belt at all times!
Unfortunately, even with taking the proper precautions, accidents and injuries can still occur. If you or your child has been injured in a wreck involving a negligent driver or defective car seat, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages. The Daspit Law Firm has recovered millions of dollars for auto accident victims and their families throughout Houston and the state of Texas, and we’re available 24/7 to review your case. Contact us today for a FREE consultation.