Vehicle accidents occur on a daily basis. Luckily, most of them are minor and do not result in serious injuries. However, some crashes can be quite severe and may cause permanent physical harm or death to the driver or passengers. Children need to be secured in a car seat to protect them from serious injury in an accident. The California Highway Patrol, CHP, provides information for parents and others to ensure child safety in vehicles.
California Child Seat Laws
All passengers, including children, are required to be restrained while riding in a vehicle.
● Infants: Children under the age of 2, under 40 pounds, or under 40 inches tall must ride in a rear-facing child seat. The seat needs to be located in the back seat and attached according to manufacturer’s instructions. The seat cannot be placed in the front passenger seat because airbag deployment will harm the child.
● Children Under Age 8: Children between the ages of 2 and 8 must be secured in a vehicle with a car seat or booster seat, which must be located in the back seat. Car seats utilize a five-point harness system that must be properly secured while a child rides in a car.
● Booster Seats: Booster seats are required for children who outgrow car seats. This is usually once a child reaches between 40 and 65 pounds and up to 4’9” in height. Generally, children ages 8 through 12 should use booster seats. A child of this size will not be adequately protected by a vehicle’s seat belt alone since these are designed for adult use.
Children Safety Seat Information
It is important to realize that every child must be secured in a vehicle before traveling. Going even a short distance without being in a child seat can put a child in danger. Someone holding a child can never protect the infant from being thrown in an impact. At least 71% of accident injuries to infants and children can be prevented with the proper use of car seats, according to SafeKids.org.
Check the instructions with your child seat to determine that it is properly sized for your child. Be careful when purchasing used car seats as they may not function properly. Also, manufacturer recalls of car seats mean that they are unsafe for use. You can check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, for car seat recalls.
Proper Installation of Children’s Car Seats
With so many different models and types of car seats, it can be difficult to know the proper way to install one into your vehicle. Review the installation instructions and make sure the seat is secure before placing your child into it. Many people unknowingly make mistakes with the installation of child car seats. An improper installation could have serious consequences in an accident. You can have your infant car seat inspected through CHP, or through a number of different community organizations.
When an accident occurs, it may cause severe injuries to a child, particularly if he or she is not adequately secured to a seat, booster seat, or seatbelt. If you were involved in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the experienced legal team at the Law Office of Patrick G. Shea to discuss your case today.