Car seats are designed to enhance child safety but, tragically, road traffic accidents remain the leading cause of child deaths in the U.S. Although car seats can protect infants and young people in the event of an accident, improper use can limit their effectiveness. In one year alone, 35% of child deaths caused by traffic accidents involved a child who was unrestrained in the vehicle.
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If you want to ensure your family is safe when you’re on the road, take a look at these top five car seat safety tips now:
1. Choose the Right Type of Seat
There are four main types of car seats but the right one for your child will depend on their age, height and weight. Rear-facing car seats are typically recommended for babies, infants, and young children, while older kids can benefit from using a forward-facing seat or a booster seat.
2. Check It Fits Your Vehicle
Not all car seats will fit properly in your vehicle, so don’t assume you can buy any car seat and use it for your child. Before making a purchase, confirm with the manufacturers that it is designed to be used with the make and model of vehicle you own. Some car seats are designed to work best in larger vehicles, like SUVs, for example, while others are more suited to sedans and compact vehicles.
3. Replace Car Seats Following an Accident
If you’re involved in an accident, be sure to replace the car seat straight away, even if it doesn’t show any signs of damage. Car seats are designed to absorb the impact of a collision and protect the occupant, but they become weaker following an impact. Due to this, it’s vital to replace a car seat if the vehicle is involved in any type of accident. Even a relatively minor fender bender could place undue stress on the seat, so don’t take the risk of using the same seat after an accident has occurred.
4. Have Seats Professionally Installed
Installing a car seat can be tricky, particularly if you’ve never done it before. Although manufacturers do provide detailed instructions, it’s easy to get it wrong. To give yourself peace of mind, have car seats professionally installed to ensure they’re working optimally.
5. Use It Every Time Your Child Travels
Once you have an appropriate car seat installed, make sure your child uses it every time they travel. Even if you’re only making a short journey, take the time to buckle your child into their seat so that they’re fully protected on the road.
Dealing with a Car Accident When Kids Are Involved
Any type of car accident can be stressful, but these incidents can be even more traumatic when kids are involved. If you or your children have been injured due to an accident on the road and you want to find out how to obtain compensation, you can learn more here.
While seeking medical help will always be your top priority after a car accident, there are practical and financial considerations to think about too. By getting legal advice swiftly, you can find out what your rights are and begin taking action to get your family the justice and compensation you deserve.