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Car Seat Safety | Children and Auto Accidents

Children who are in car accidents can be even more susceptible to long-term physical and emotional disability due to their physical injuries and emotional trauma than adults. The lasting effects of auto accidents can be devastating to children, who may be ill-equipped to protect themselves, as well as to families who are unprepared to cope with traumatic injury to their children. It is a sad fact that over 500 children under the age of sixteen are killed annually in traffic accidents, the leading cause of death among children, with many more injured. If you have a child that has been injured in an auto accident, speak with a Denver car accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Many of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented with proper safety precautions. We all know that the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves in the event of a car accident is to use our seatbelt every time we get in a car. In the same way, it is equally important to make sure that children are properly restrained in appropriate safety or booster seats. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has some excellent information for your use in ensuring the maximum level of safety for children in your vehicle.

All children should ride in a rear-facing safety seat at least until they are a year old. As a parent, there are three basic options: infant-only seats which are rear-facing seats for use for infants only, convertible seats which can be turned around and used as front-facing seats when your baby outgrows the rear-facing seat, and 3-in-1 seats, which are like convertible seats but can also be easily removed from the car and used as a carrier. It is vital that you ensure that the seat is installed correctly in the back seat. An improperly installed child car seat will not keep your child as safe as it should. How long you can keep your child in the rear-facing seat is determined by the manufacturer’s specifications, which are generally printed on the seat itself. The longer you can keep your baby in a rear-facing seat the better for the child’s safety. In many cases convertible seats, in addition to the convenience of being able to use the same seat as a front-facing seat, also have higher height and weight limits, allowing you to keep your child in the safest, rear-facing position longer.

When your child does outgrow the rear-facing seat, based on manufacturer recommendations, it is time for a front-facing seat with a harness. Like the rear-facing seat, the front-facing seat must be installed correctly in order to be as safe as possible. Also like the rear-facing seat, the longer you keep your child in this seat, the safer. Of course, when your child outgrows the seat based on manufacturer’s specifications, it is time to move into a booster seat.

A booster seat is very different in that it does not secure to the vehicle’s seat, but simply sits on top of it, guiding the vehicle seat belt to the correct place for the safety of your child. Like the other safety seats, the booster seat should ALWAYS be used in the back, never the front seat. Your child should continue to sit in a booster seat until he or she is big enough that the seat belt no longer needs to be repositioned. This is when the lap belt sits across the upper thighs, not the belly and the shoulder belt sits across the shoulder and chest, not the face or neck. Even when your child outgrows the need for a booster seat, children under age twelve are always safer in the back seat than the front.

If your child has been injured in a Colorado auto accident, speak with a Denver personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Nothing is more important than the well-being of your children. Keith Fuicelli is just one of the dedicated attorneys at the Law Firm of Fuicelli and Lee who will aggressively pursue whatever action is necessary to protect your child. Fuicelli and Lee, PC is a firm that believes in the highest possible degree of personal service and integrity. For more information and a FREE CONSULTATION, contact Fuicelli and Lee, PC at (303) 355-7202.

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