This year, the week of September 15-21 is being recognized as Child Passenger Safety Week to raise awareness and bring attention to the topic. Many child passenger injuries are a result of improper use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts. In 2017, one child under the age of 13 was involved in a passenger vehicle crash every 32 seconds, making the need for child passenger safety even more prevalent. To help alleviate this issue, the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Ad Council have launched a series of public service ads that advertise the urgency of protecting a child’s future at each stage of their life, including in vehicles. The primary goal of these ads is to inform parents and caregivers of the correct car seat for every child’s age, height and weight, as well as making sure they are using them correctly.
During Child Passenger Safety Week in September, various communities across the country will be hosting verified Child Passenger Safety Technicians to provide free instruction on the proper use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts for children of all ages. In addition, these technicians will be offering their services to educate parents and caregivers on how to choose the right car seat for their child, how to correctly install it and use it every time. Apart from that, they will also be discussing the importance of registering the car seat with the manufacturer and the steps one should take if their child’s car seat is recalled. The end of Child Passenger Safety Week will be concluding with National Seat Check Saturday on September 21.
Unfortunately, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children between ages 1 and 13, which makes raising awareness about the proper uses of car seats important to all, especially parents and caregivers. Between 2013 and 2017, 3,313 children under the age of 13 were involved in a fatal vehicle crash. In 2017, over 35% of children under 13 that were killed in a passenger vehicle crash were not restrained in either a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt. These statistics point to the importance of restraining your child in some sort of car seat if they are under the age of 13. Most parents have confidence in their installation of their child’s car seat, but in over 59% of these cases, the seat belt for the car seat was not correctly installed. It has been proven that car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a vehicle crash by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers. However, the mistake is often made of moving a child from a car seat to a booster seat when they are not yet at the correct age, height or weight.
It is recommended that parents carefully read and follow car seat installation instructions, for failure to do so can lead to exposing the child passenger to risk of injury or death should a crash occur. A few car seat recommendations for choosing the right option for your child include:
- Rear-facing car seats should be used on children under the age of one.
- Forward-facing car seats should be used once children have outgrown the rear-facing one.
- A child should be moved to a booster seat once they have reached the maximum height or weight allowed for a car seat
- A child should only be moved to using just a seat belt once they have outgrown the booster seat
Information about the correct type of passenger safety measures for your child and learning how to install and use it correctly can only help to reduce the number of child passenger vehicle injuries that families suffer each year. However, even when you are being cautious and taking the appropriate steps to secure your child in a vehicle, injuries as a result of a car crash can still occur. If your child has suffered an injury due to a vehicular crash, you may be entitled to compensation. Call one of our compassionate attorneys today at (217) 443-4343 to receive a free consultation and to help you through this difficult matter.