Every 33-seconds, one child under the age of 13 is involved in a collision. That is a frightening number, especially when you consider that only 25% of drivers have their children in the correct car seat (Source: NHTSA).  In recognition of Child Passenger Safety Week (September 17 – September 23) and National Seat Check Saturday (September 23), the Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group is providing parents and caregivers detailed information about the different car seats available, to help ensure that children are safe in case of a collision.

Age Infancy to Three Years:

The very first car seat your child will use is a rear-facing car seat positioned in the back seat of a vehicle. This style is the safest car seat for young children (especially those one year or younger). This seat features a harness, and is designed to cradle and move with a child – reducing the stress to their fragile neck and back. There are different types of rear-facing seats: infant only, convertible, and 3-in-1. As rear-facing car seats are one of the best ways for child passengers to stay safe, the NHTSA recommends that parents keep their children in rear-facing car seats as long as possible – until they reach the top height or weight limits allowed by the car seat manufacturer.

Age One to Seven Years:

Once a child outgrows their rear-facing car seat, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat. This seat features a harness and tether system that secures the child to the back seat and limits their forward movement during a collision. Again, it is recommended that a parent or caregiver keep the child in a forward-facing seat until the child reaches the height or weight limits specified by the car seat manufacturer.

Age Four to Twelve Years:

When a child outgrows their forward-facing car seat, it is time to move them to a booster seat. A booster seat, which should still be installed in the back seat of the vehicle, helps position the seat belt so that it fits properly and securely over the stronger parts of a child’s body. A child should continue to ride in a booster seat until they have grown large enough for a seat belt.

Age Eight to Thirteen Years (and Older):

To determine whether a child is the right size for a regular seat belt, they should be able to sit with the lap belt snug across their upper thighs and the shoulder belt snug across their shoulder or chest. If the belt only fits across the child’s stomach and/or neck and face, they are still too small for a seat belt. Whenever possible, children should continue to ride in the back seat of a vehicle, as it is safer there than in the front seat.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages one through twelve. This fatality rate can be reduced significantly if parents and caregivers have their children in car seats that are appropriate for their height and weight, and are also correctly assembled and installed in the vehicle’s back seat. According to the NHTSA, car seats reduce the risk of infants being killed in a collision by 71%, and the risk of toddlers being killed in a collision by 54%. These numbers highlight the importance of making sure your child passengers are protected in the correct car seat.

If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a collision and need help with your personal injury case, call The Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group (404) 436-1529 to schedule a free personal injury consultation.

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