It is that time of year again! Summer is over and children have headed back to school. Many children travel back and forth in motor vehicles every day and the attorneys at Power & Power Law are dedicated to helping parents and caregivers keep them safe. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has designated September 23-29th as Child Passenger Safety Week in order to raise awareness, provide resources and education, and encourage parents and caregivers to attend free car seat check events to ensure that their kids’ seats are properly installed.
Safety Precautions for Child Passengers
Road injuries are the leading cause of unintentional deaths to children in the United States. Between 2012 and 2016 alone, over 3000 children under the age of 13 died in motor vehicle-related accidents. More than a third of those children had not been buckled into their seats. However, child safety seats, when properly installed, decrease the risk of fatal injury by 71% among infants, 5% among toddlers, and 45% among children ages 4 through 8. In 2016, restraint use saved the lives of 328 children among children under 5. An additional 370 more children could have survived if they had been properly restrained in a car seat or booster seat.
Tips for Parents and Caregivers
A properly secured car seat is a caregiver’s first line of defense in the event of a crash, which can, unfortunately, happen at any time in Alaska. Parents and caregivers should ensure that children are buckled in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats, or seat belts whenever they are on the road.
For a child to fit properly in a booster seat:
- The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest, and not cross the neck or face;
- The lap belt must lie snugly across the child’s upper thighs, not the stomach;
- The child’s knees should bend comfortably at the edge of the seat when his or her back and bottom are against the vehicle seat back; and
- The child must be able to stay seated properly during the entire trip.
For a child to fit properly in a seat belt, he or she must be tall enough to sit without slouching and be able to:
- Keep his or her back against the vehicle seat;
- Keep his or her knees naturally bent over the edge of the vehicle seat; and
- Keep his or her feet flat on the floor.
Everyone in a motor vehicle should always be buckled securely before the vehicle begins to move.
Other Precautions and Safety Checkpoints
Another critical step that is often overlooked is the fact that all car seats should be registered with their manufacturers in case of a safety recall. Every seat purchased comes with a postage-paid registration card that can be dropped in the mail. This simple step ensures notification if a defect is discovered with a car seat so it can be repaired or the seat can be replaced.
National Child Passenger Safety Week will end with National Seat Check Saturday on September 29th, when certified technicians at designated child safety seat inspection stations throughout the country will offer free car seat inspections to drivers with child passengers. The technicians will check the car seat and give hands-on advice free of charge. Every parent and caregiver is encouraged to stop by one of the inspection stations which can be located at http://cert.safekids.org/.
Questions After an Accident?
Unfortunately, accidents do happen. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Power & Power Law today.