We all know how important car seats are for keeping our children safe in the event of a car accident. Due to increased awareness about the importance of using safe car seats, the number of children that die annually in car crashes has decreased almost 45 percent over the past decade. Unfortunately, thousands of children are still killed in motor vehicle accidents every year.
Car accidents are still the leading cause of death for children ages two to 14 years old. The best defense to prevent your children from becoming a tragic statistic is to buckle your children into a car seat every time you take them out in the car. However, this is only effective if you are using your car seats properly. Unfortunately, many parents make serious mistakes in how they use car seats. The following are ten common mistakes that parents make with car seats. Read on to make sure that you do not make the same mistakes.
- Putting your child in a used car seat without doing thorough research to find out if it is still safe: You need a car seat’s full history before you use it. A car seat might look perfectly fine on the outside, but have serious problems. You need to make sure that the car seat has not expired or been recalled, is crash-free, and still contains the full instruction manual. It is not worth potentially endangering your child’s life just to save money on the car seat.
- Installing the car seat too loosely in the car: A car seat is not going to be effective if it can jolt the child around in the event of a crash. You should not be able to move the car seat more than an inch in any direction once the car seat is installed. Make sure your child’s car seat is firmly in place.
- Choosing the wrong seat for the car seat: A car seat should never be placed in a seat that has airbags. Ideally, a car seat should be in the rear middle seat of the car.
- Keeping the harness too loose: If your child’s harness is too loose, they could be ejected from the car in an accident. The straps should be snug across your child’s chest, and there should be no slack.
- Putting rear-facing seats at the wrong angle: Car seats should be at a 45 degree angle in order make sure that the baby’s head does not fall forward.
- Changing types of car seats too quickly: You should strictly follow pediatrician and government guidelines to decide when your child needs a new type of car seat. Any acceleration of this plan could endanger your child.
- Dressing your children in bulky layers while in the car seat: Bulky outerwear prevents the harness from being snug enough to work correctly. Dress your baby in a thin jacket and then put a blanket over your child on the outside of the harness if the weather is particularly cold.
- Forgetting the top tether on the car seat: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety discovered that only about half of car seats were attached by the top tether, because most parents don’t think this is important. Unfortunately, this is a very dangerous decision. The top tether significantly reduces the risk of head injuries in a crash.
- Abandoning booster seats for seat belts too early: Most children can safely use an adult seatbelt at some point between the ages of eight and 12. Parents should not feel pressured to rush this. Unless your child is at least 4 feet 9 inches tall, the seatbelt will hit them incorrectly without a booster seat. It is your responsibility to make sure that they are protected.
- Using car seats inconsistently: You should never skip using a car seat just because it is a hassle to install in another person’s car. No matter how short a car trip may be, your child must be properly restrained for his or her safety.
If you remember these warnings, your children will be much safer in the event of a car accident. Car seats save lives. Protect your child by using your car seat properly every time you are in a vehicle. Be sure to share these tips with your family members, babysitters, nannies, and other child care providers who might be taking your children somewhere in a vehicle.
Questions? Contact one of the Chicago accident attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. You can reach us at (312) 236-2900.