Child car seat safety has been a hot topic since New Jersey’s new car seat laws went into effect on September 1, 2015. Parents everywhere are asking just how safe their infants, toddlers and older children are in their existing car seats, or if they need to invest in new equipment to further protect them.
If your child has been injured in a car accident, please contact us today using this form. Our attorneys are currently representing parents of children injured in car accidents that were caused by faulty car seats, and the actions of unsafe drivers. You and your child might be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and other damages.
The truth is, many car seats are defectively designed and could wind up harming your child. In 2013, a Mississippi jury awarded a family $52 million in damages after it was proven that a car seat manufacturer had designed a car seat that did not offer adequate protection for a 4-year-old child. It is important that parents not only buy the best possible car seats for their children, but use them properly in order to ensure their safety while driving.
Some possible car seat defects could be:
- weak shells
- defective handles
- flammable materials
- base/shell separation and weak construction
- sudden releases due to defective harnessing systems
- unanticipated rotation
Some parents tend to purchase less expensive car seats because children quickly outgrow them. The problem is, many inexpensive car seats do not contain the same safety features as car seats manufactured by reputable brands. You never want to cut corners where your child’s safety is concerned, and having the proper car seat will increase the likelihood of your child avoiding serious injury he or she is properly harnessed in an appropriate car seat while traveling. Here are some tips to help parents purchase a car or booster seat that will help keep them safe:
Invest In a Convertible Seat
Studies have shown that the longer an infant or toddler rides in a rear-facing car seat, the safer they are. Many states require that children ride in a rear facing seat during their first year, but now it is thought that children are safest if they ride in a rear-facing seat until age 2. Many newer seats are convertible, and can be flipped to face forward, and will accommodate kids between 40-80 pounds, and up to 50 inches tall.
Be Choosy When It Comes to Safety
The unavoidable fact about car seats is that the more you pay, the more safety features you get. The more expensive car seats often have features such as five-point safety harnesses with superior adjustability, additional padding, and side-impact protection that will protect your child’s head and chest in a side-impact collision.
Install the Car Seat Correctly
Since 2002, all cars must be manufactured with a LATCH car seat tether, which anchors the bottom of the seat instead of the seat belt. Some cars have an additional top tether that uses a seatbelt. Make sure you read the installation instructions for the car seat you purchase, and have your installation checked by a professional. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has car seat inspection stations throughout the country, where you can go to have seats checked, and get help with installation.
Avoid Attaching Mirrors and Toys to Car Seats
Mirror and toy car seat attachments might work well to keep your child occupied, but in an accident, they could become projectiles that might injure him or her. Play it extra-safe by not attaching anything to the car seat that isn’t vital to your child’s safety.
Do Not Buy a Used Car Seat
Buying a used car or booster seat is not recommended because it could be inadequate in terms of current safety standards, or it could have been compromised in an accident, even if it has no obvious damage. As tempting as it might be, a used car seat could endanger your child.
Take Advice From Other Parents
Parents want nothing but the best for their children, so it makes sense to listen up when it comes to safety. Talk to parents in your community, and read the reputable Web sites and blogs to see which brands and models of car seats are purchased most often.
Pay Attention to Recalls
Every so often, a car or booster seat is recalled by its manufacturer. Usually, these recalls get a good deal of media attention, but it’s possible to miss them. Make sure to register your child’s car seat with the manufacturer, and subscribe to e-mail updates so you will be able to obtain information about recalls and other important news.
The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan PA have extensive experience advocating for clients who have suffered injuries in car accidents. We can help you determine whether or not you have grounds to seek compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, and other damages caused by injuries to you or your children. Fill out our free case review form today.