One way in which an alarming number of children are injured or killed each year is in car accidents. For some of these children, a car safety seat or booster seat could have reduced the severity of their injuries – or even saved the child’s life. But to be of any benefit, the child safety seat must be properly installed. Continue reading to learn how you can protect your child’s life in a car accident by taking the simple preventative measure of using a car safety seat.
Child Passenger Safety Statistics
The statistics paint a clear warning for Indianapolis parents: your young children are at risk of serious injury or death if they do not ride in a car in an appropriate car seat. Consider these findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- In one recent year, 638 children ages 12 years and younger died in car accidents nationwide and over 125,000 were injured.
- Of those children who died, almost 40 percent—four out of 10 children—were not properly buckled up in a car safety seat.
- In a year’s time, it is estimated that over 600,000 children are passengers in a car without a child safety seat or booster seat.
- One study found that over 70 percent of nearly 3,500 observed car safety seats and booster seats were not installed correctly and increased a child’s risk of injury during a crash.
As a parent, you take certain precautions in order to protect your child from the unknown and unpreventable. The doctor is consulted when your child appears feverish or ill, and you likely have safety plans for your child if he or she feels threatened or scared. Having your child ride in an approved and properly installed car seat or booster seat should also be a priority of concerned parents.
Indiana Child Car Seat Laws
Indiana laws mandate the use of seat belts and approved car seats for children. Under the law, all children from birth to eight years old must be secured in a car seat or booster seat while traveling in a car or other vehicle. The car seat must be appropriate for the age and size of the child and should be properly installed to maximize the safety benefits to the child. If the child is too large for a car seat or booster seat, the child must wear a seatbelt. All children ages eight years old to 16 years old must wear a seatbelt while in a moving vehicle. In addition, children 12 years of age and younger must sit in the rear of a vehicle’s passenger compartment.
A child under 20 pounds must use a rear-facing child safety seat, although it is recommended that children use a rear-facing child safety seat for as long as possible. A child who is over the age of one and who weighs at least 20 pounds can use a forward-facing car seat equipped with an internal harness system.
Violations of these laws can result in the driver of the vehicle being responsible for fines and other court-related costs. Older children who do not wear a seatbelt may also be cause for a fine.
The Dangers of Improperly Installed Car Seats
A car seat that is improperly installed can be just as dangerous to a child as having no car seat at all. Consider this story from Arizona as a cautionary tale of the harm an improperly installed car seat can cause. On July 13, 2015, a couple was riding in their SUV with the woman’s three-year-old daughter in the vehicle. The SUV was hit broadside by a careless teen driver and the SUV rolled over several times. During the crash and before the SUV came to rest, the little girl was thrown from the vehicle and landed on the asphalt. She suffered a fractured arm, leg, and skull as a result of the accident and was taken from the scene of the accident in critical condition.
Car seats and booster seats must be properly installed and used in order to provide the maximum benefit to a child. An incorrectly installed car seat can cause a child to come loose during a crash and fly around the inside of the car or be ejected from the car. A car seat that is not appropriate for the child’s size may not restrain the child or the straps and restraints may cause serious injuries to the child.
How to Correctly Install a Childs Car Seat
Car seats should come with instructions that tell you how to properly and where to install a car seat. Make sure when you are installing a car seat and placing your child in the car seat that all tethers and straps are properly secured. In addition, one website recommends two additional tests to ensure your child’s car seat is properly installed:
- The “inch test”: Shake the car seat at its base and check for any sliding or movement. A car seat that is correctly installed will not move more than one inch in any direction.
- The “pinch test”: With your child secured in the car seat, pinch the strap of the harness at the child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch excess webbing, then your child is properly secured in the car seat.
Where Can I Get a Car Seat Installed Correctly?
Indianapolis parents who are uncertain about how to properly install their child’s car seat or whether their car seat is appropriate for their child are encouraged to take their vehicle and car seat to any one of a number of car seat installation inspection locations in and around the greater Indianapolis area. At these locations, parents can have their child seat inspected for flaws or defects and can learn how to install their car seat correctly.
Look to a Compassionate Indianapolis Child Accident Lawyer
At The Sevenish Law Firm, we love children. That is why we are so passionate about helping parents and families whose children have been injured in accidents caused by other people’s negligence. We help parents recover financial compensation after an Indianapolis child injury accident so that the parents do not need to worry about where they will come up with money for the child’s medical bills or how they will cope with other related expenses and costs.
When your child has been injured in a car accident or other Indiana child injury accident, look no further than the caring and dedicated legal team at Sevenish Law Firm for assistance. We will help protect your legal rights so you can focus your attention on your child. Contact our child injury attorneys today at 317-636-7777 to discuss your child injury issues and concerns.