How to Properly Use Car Seats and Booster Seats for Older Children

The CDC estimates that 638 children ages 12-years old and younger died as passengers in automobiles in 2013, more than 127,000 children were injured in car crashes. Another study found that more than 618,000 children age 0-12 rode in motor vehicles without the use of a car seat, booster or seat belt “some of the time.” This is a staggering statistic considering that 38% of the children who died in car crashes in 2013 were not buckled up at all.

As kids get older it can be tempting to just buckle them into the car with a regular seatbelt than negotiate with child seats and boosters. A study by the University of Michigan’s Pediatric Trauma Program suggested that parents should remain as vigilant with older children and car safety seats as they are with infants.

What Guidelines Can Parents Follow to Make Sure Kids Are Safe in Cars?
A new law enacted in January 2015 says that children under 5-years old must use a child safety seat or booster in Florida. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (“FLHSMV”) provided additional guidance to parents for making the decision to switch children 5-years and older to just a seatbelt:

  • Keep them in a booster until the child is at least 4 foot 9 inches tall, or until they can sit al the way back in the seat and bend their knees at the edge of the seat.
  • Make sure the shoulder belt lays across the chest and not the neck.
  • The lap belt should lay across the upper thighs and not the stomach.

The FLHSMV also suggested that children under the age of 13 should rid in the back of seat of the car whenever possible.

The Car Seat or Booster Did Not Protect My Child – Now What?
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 (“FMVSS 213”) says that child car seats and boosters must comply with certain standards. Unfortunately, products do hit the market that either do not comply with these standards or are designed in a way that can still cause a child to be thrown around or ejected, resulting in serious injury or death.

A defectively designed car seat may not provide enough head protection to a child. or it may be that the carrier separated from the base during impact. In most car seat injury cases the car seat manufacturer tries to blame the parents for not installing the car seat properly rather than admitting that the product had a defective design.

The product liability attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath have the experience and resources to investigate accidents involving defective car seats and hold the manufacturers responsible. If your child has been injured while properly restrained in a child car seat then you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our office today for a free consultation.  If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS  (1-800- 474-4487)  We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.