Child Car Safety Tips Every Family Should Keep in Mind
Many of us at Stokes & Kopitsky Injury Lawyers are parents (and grandparents) and know personally that keeping children safe is a big concern. This includes safety while on the road. Some of the hardest cases for us personally are ones involving children in auto accidents. Helping a family deal with the aftermath of a serious car crash can be heartbreaking, and we take great care to ensure their needs are met throughout the process.
Traveling in a car with a child is a part of a family’s regular routine – from the moment a baby is brought home from the hospital, to long road trips to see beloved relatives and daily drives to and from school and recreational activities. Everyone should take care to exercise safety measures while riding in a vehicle.
There are plenty of ways that families can keep their children protected and comfortable at all times.
Choosing a Proper Child Safety Seat
First and foremost, a high quality car seat can protect infants and small children from becoming fatally injured in the unfortunate event of a car accident.
In Atlanta, Georgia, all children under eight years old must be properly secured in an approved car seat or booster while they are riding in any moving vehicle. The law aligns Georgia with national guidelines set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to ensure that that all young children are kept safe when riding any vehicle for any amount of time.
Here are useful guidelines for choosing the right car seat for your child:
- There are a variety of car seats and boosters to choose from, so be sure to select on that best fit the child’s age, size, and weight, as well as the vehicle type.
- Only use a car seat with a label stating that it meets or exceeds Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213.
If you are using a used car seat, there are other important things to consider as well:
- Make sure the car seat is no more than six years old. (FYI, every car seat is different, and some expire 5 years after their manufacturer date.) Car seats are only approved for a few years’ of use. This is because the integrity of the materials naturally decreases over time – even if the car seat still looks as good as new. Refer to the manufacturer information to find out the expiration date for a specific car seat.
- Do not use a car seat that has previously been in an accident regardless of whether there is any visible damage to the car seat or not.
- Avoid car seats that have missing parts and instruction manuals or are not labeled with the model number and manufacture date.
Moreover, check the car seat instructions to make sure it is properly installed in the vehicle. All-too-often, children are injured needlessly because the car seat in which they are secured was incorrectly installed by the parent in the first place. This can be avoided completely by carefully following the installation instructions for the car seat and vehicle type. If you need help, many local fire departments will do a free car seat safety check and help you.