How can be sure your car seat is safely installed?
Each year, approximately 6,500 children are involved in fatal car crashes each year. In fact, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children under 14. Many of these child deaths can be prevented with proper car seat use. However, it is estimated that up to 90% of car seats are not installed or used properly.
There is nothing sadder than a car wreck that involves children. So, the Orange County car accident attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis and Leslie have compiled a list of tips that can help you ensure your child is safe in his car seat.
These tips can help you keep your child safe if an accident occurs.
1. Make sure you are using the correct car seat for your child’s age and weight. Infants can use an infant seat or a forward-facing convertible seat. Infant-only seats may be used until the child reaches the height and weight limit of the seat. The seat is not safe for larger children. Convertible car seats should remain rear-facing until the child is at least one year old AND weighs at least 20 pounds. However, it is safest to leave the seat rear-facing until the child reaches the rear-facing limit for that seat. Once the child has exceeded the rear-facing weight and height allowed by the particular seat, they may ride forward-facing with the full harness. Children who have outgrown their forward-facing convertible seat, should ride in a booster seat until they are about 4’9” tall. After they have outgrown their booster seat, children should use a seat belt while riding in the backseat. Children under 13 should not ride in the front seat.
2. Do not buckle the car seat into the front seat. Air bags may save an adult life, but they are very dangerous for children and can cause serious injury or death. Children under 13 should never ride in the front seat of a motor vehicle.
3. Do not try to use an infant seat as a forward facing car seat. Do not use an infant seat without its base. If you must use an infant seat in more than one car, you can purchase additional bases for each vehicle.
4. Make sure the seat is securely installed. It should not wobble. Many CHP offices and local police and fire departments have car seat experts who can help install your seat at little or no charge.
5. Do not use covers or accessories that did not come with your car seat. These can prevent the seat from doing its job.
6. Do not buy a second hand car seat. They may not be safe. Many hospitals offer low-cost car seats to families that cannot afford to buy one.
7. Register your car seat and check the manufacturer’s web page for recalled car seats.