Protecting Your Child From Horrendous Car Accident Injuries With the Proper Safety Restraints
We’ve all seen and heard the numerous campaigns about the necessity of wearing your seatbelt. Even if you haven’t seen the campaigns, you should know that seatbelts are the best defense against serious car accident injuries. However, what you may not know is that car restraints are even more important for children.
Improper restraining of children under the age of three remains a top cause of infant car accident deaths in the United States. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have gone as far as to create reports on the matter. Here are their findings:
- The latest yearly accident reports (2013) estimate that 638 children under the age of twelve died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes, and more than 127,250 were injured.
- More than 618,000 children 12 years old and younger periodically ride in vehicles without the proper restraints of a child safety seat, booster seat, or seatbelt.
- Nearly 38% of the children who died in 2013’s car crashes were not wearing seatbelts.
Considering the risk involved, shouldn’t car seat safety be just as talked about (if not more) than adult seat belt use? Unfortunately, it isn’t. In fact, it has taken some states—Texas included—years to update their seatbelt laws to include laws enforcing the use of children’s safety restraints.
Child Safety Seats Are Essential, No Matter What the Law Doesn’t Say
At present, although we have strict seatbelt laws that imply infant restraints, Texas does not have specific booster seat laws. However, even though the laws aren’t explicit about how, when, and why proper child restraints should be used, the following safety stats taken from the CDC are more than enough to see the benefits:
- Child safety seats can reduce fatal injury by 71% for infants, and by 54% for toddlers between the ages of one and four.
- Using a booster seat to elevate a child’s lap and shoulder to the proper seatbelt position is 60% safer for kids than being restrained by a seat belt alone
Car Seat Guidelines
Making sure your children are buckled up safely can reduce the risk of fatal injury and ensure they make it to their destination safe and sound. Parents need to be paying more attention to their children’s car safety in order to prevent catastrophic injuries. And guess what?—it’s not even hard, as long as you know the basics. By following the guidelines outlined below, you can increase your child’s car seat safety and avoid fatal injury during a wreck:
- Children up to the age of 12 should always ride in the back seat using a booster or car seat.
- Infants up to at least one year of age should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. Rear-facing seats should be used until the child has outgrown the product in height or weight.
- Once your child has outgrown his rear-facing seat, use a front-facing car seat with a harness.
- Once your child has outgrown his front-facing seat, use a booster seat.
- Once your child is big enough for the lap belt to fasten snuggly over his upper thighs (no higher) and the shoulder belt to cross his shoulder and chest (not his neck or face), you may secure him in the normal seat with a seat belt.
- Infants and young toddlers should ride in a car seat that is positioned so you can monitor them in the rear-view mirror.
Keep your children safe from the day you first drive them home to the day they leave home by knowing and enforcing proper seatbelt restraints.