Installing a Car Seat is Not Enough: It Must Be Properly Installed to Work
The Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has completed an exhaustive study that found that there is an average of almost two children killed in car accidents every day in the U.S. The study came to the conclusion that one of the reasons so many children die in accidents is because child safety seats are so often improperly installed.
Do you know how unsafe it can be to have a car seat that is not properly installed? It can increase the chance of serious injury or death by more than 3 times. This is shocking enough, but when you add in the estimate that around 70% of child safety seats are not properly installed, it is easy to see that this can be a huge issue. Further, the study found that about one-third of children killed in car accidents were not in a car seat at all.
California has strict car seat laws
If you have a child and you want them to be safe in the event of a car accident then the most important thing you can do is to ensure that they are safely fastened into the car. Legislators take this seriously and have passed laws regarding car seat safety. For example, a child who is not yet two years old must ride in a car seat that faces the back unless they are either 40+ pounds or 40+ inches tall.
A child who is not yet eight years old must be fastened into either a car seat or booster seat and that seat must be located in the back of the car. When a child reaches eight years old (or a height of 4’9” they can sit in a booster seat or, at the very minimum, a safety belt. Once a child reaches 16 years of age, they are subject to the same seat belt laws as the rest of California residents.
How to correctly install a car seat
There are many organizations that will professionally install a car seat for free. Your local police or fire department may also offer free safety checks to ensure your child’s car seat is correctly installed. When you install the car seat, follow these rules of thumb:
- Do not guess – read the direction thoroughly.
- Car seats go in the back seat because it is the safest place for a child to ride.
- Read the directions in your vehicle’s owner’s manual too. Many of today’s cars have lower anchors built into the seat and other safety measures you will want to make sure you are taking advantage of.
- Secure the seat tightly once it is in place. Wiggle it back and forth and side to side. If it moves more than an inch in any direction then it is not securely fastened.
These are just a few of the tips to help you correctly install your child’s car seat. At Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas we want to ensure that Californians are as safe as possible. If you or your child has been injured in a car accident, please contact us at 909-982-0707 for a free legal case evaluation.