According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost half of the car seats used in the United States aren’t used correctly, with 46% of car seats inspected nationwide incorrectly installed.
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death for children across the country, with 723 children ages 12 and younger dying in crashes in 2016 and more than 128,000 sustaining injuries in 2016. Children are especially at risk in car accidents, so car seat safety is vital. Thankfully, the proper use of child restraints can prevent serious injuries and death.
When a car seat isn’t properly installed, it’s usually because it’s sitting at the incorrect angle. This is especially true when it comes to an improper recline angle on a rear-facing car seat.
The majority of rear-facing car seats should recline at an angle of 30 to 45 degrees. If a car seat is too upright, this can be dangerous, not only in case of a crash but also for the baby’s breathing. An improperly-angled car seat can cause a young baby’s head to fall forward, obstructing the baby’s airways.
Don’t install a car seat too loosely. Your child’s car seat should not move more than an inch when you tug or pull on it, either back and forth or left and right. When a collision occurs, a loose car seat could run into the back of your front or passenger seats. This type of impact could cause serious injuries to your child’s head or face.
Ensure that your car seat’s harnesses are snug as well. After buckling your child in their car seat, adjust the harness straps so that they are taut. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t be able to pinch the straps’ material between your fingers if you’ve properly adjusted the harness. When a child’s harness straps are loose, they could be ejected from their car seat in a car accident.
By keeping these tips in mind, your child will be better protected in case of a crash. However, you should always double-check your car seat manufacturer’s instructions during the installation process. And if you need extra help, the NHTSA’s website offers more detailed installation instructions and how-to videos.
Follow these steps and you’ll be well-prepared to avoid tragic situations. But if you or your family have sustained injuries in a car crash, contact your attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help you organize the facts of your case and act as your liaison with insurance companies, making the process after a wreck as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Contact our Phoenix personal injury lawyers at ELG Law today at (623) 562-3838 for a free, no-hassle consultation.