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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents are the number one cause of death in children aged 0 to 19 in the United States. While car seats can reduce the risk of death in young children by as much as 71 percent, they must be installed and used correctly in order to see results.
New Jersey has strict laws regarding the use of safety restraints for children. All children under two years of age and weighing less than 30 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing car seat with a five-point harness. Children younger than four who weigh less than 40 pounds must be secured in a car seat equipped with a five-point harness. Additionally, the law mandates that children who are younger than eight and less than 57 inches tall must be properly secured in an appropriate car seat or booster seat in the backseat of the vehicle.
While it is always important to obey the law, where child safety measures are concerned, state laws should be seen as the minimum that you can do, not the maximum that you should do. Parents should follow the recommendations made by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concerning car seat and seat belt use.
Parents often make mistakes in car seat use and installation without realizing it. The following is a list of the most common mistakes found in car seat use. Parents are caregivers are urged to become familiar with these mistakes so to avoid potential injury and help keep their little ones safe.
Many parents encounter a dilemma when it comes to choosing the proper car seat for their child. As a child grows, different seats should be used and include rear-facing seats, forward-facing seats with five-point harnesses, and booster seats.
With three different types of car seats available, it may be difficult to determine which safety seat is appropriate for your child. All safety seats come with instructions that provide specific height and weight limits. When considering a car seat for your child, keep these measurements in mind, as your child should stay in each type of seat for as long as possible.
For proper seat belt use, your child’s back should be flat against the seat. Their knees should bend over the edge of the seat with feet flat on the floor. If the belt is being worn properly, the shoulder belt should sit across the shoulder and chest, with the lap belt sitting on the hips and thighs.
Installing a car seat correctly is not easy. Associations such as the NHTSA and Safe Kids provide services where trained and certified experts offer help installing safety seats for free.
It is also important to ensure that your car seat is up to date. When choosing a car seat, purchase a new seat instead of using an old one, as technology is constantly changing. It is also important to check recall lists to ensure the car seat or booster seat has not been recalled due to product defects.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to negligence, our team of experienced South Jersey personal injury lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. are here to assist you. With offices conveniently located in King of Prussia, Philadelphia, and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we represent individuals and families throughout the area. Contact us online or call 856-354-9444 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your personal injury case.